In Tanzania most schools have no library, classroom collections of books are non-existent or out of date and pupils are likely to share text books between ten or more. Although the Tanzanian government increased its education budget in 2010, over half of grade 6 pupils attend classrooms that do not have a single book.
Book Aid International, the Tanzania Library Services Board and the Zanzibar Library Service are working together on several projects to improve this situation for children and young people.
In mainland Tanzania, with TLSB, we have established bright, vibrant children’s book corners in 17 regional libraries. Children benefit from brand new book collections, as well as new furniture, toys and games. Librarians are enthusiastic about the training they receive in establishing child-friendly services.
In mainland Tanzania and the outlying islands of the Zanzibar archipelago we are working with VSO volunteers to help establish better reading facilities for children in schools by providing school book boxes for primary schools on Unguja and Pemba Islands and in Muleba District of Kagera Region.
A teacher in Zanzibar told us the impact these portable book collections were having on the children in her school:
“… they get ideas concerning the syllabus through reading the books. They have increased understanding, they know how to read well and read frequently, they know how to narrate the story after reading the book. There are some books in the boxes that are on the syllabus and teachers also use these to plan lessons. Their performance is increasing .” Fatima Makame Mtwana, Teacher, Kikobweni primary school, Zanzibar