Improving access to quality education in Zambia through the Lubuto Library Model
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) Education Programme in collaboration with Comic Relief will support Lubuto Library Project (LLP) in Zambia to implement a project that offers opportunities for both in and out-of-school vulnerable children and youth an opportunity to combine learning and acquisition of leadership skills through the Lubuto Library concept. The Lubuto Library model was developed to create opportunities for equitable, high quality education through open-access libraries and holistic educational, cultural and community programmes.
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) Education Programme in collaboration with Comic Relief will support Lubuto Library Project (LLP) in Zambia to implement a project that offers opportunities for both in and out-of-school vulnerable children and youth an opportunity to combine learning and acquisition of leadership skills through the Lubuto Library concept. The Lubuto Library model was developed to create opportunities for equitable, high quality education through open-access libraries and holistic educational, cultural and community programmes. The Libraries are a platform for integrated programs which offer discovery and learning through reading, music, art, drama, computers, leadership development programmes and other activities. The LLP model has a three pronged approach of improving the learning outcomes of children and youth in school, inspiring those out of school to enroll for second chance learning and providing skills and leadership development those that are unable to return to schooling.
The Lubuto Library model, which has been developed over years of direct interaction with beneficiaries and adapted based on lessons learned, forms the foundation for this project. LLP has consulted over the years, directly with the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE), including the Zambia Library Service (ZLS), at every stage of development of the Lubuto Library model. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between LLP and the Ministry was signed in 2008, naming LLP as a national partner in providing literacy and library services to Zambia’s orphans and vulnerable children. This MOU complements national plans to ensure equitable access to educational resources and mandates LLP to “provide leadership in establishing standards of good library practice” in order to improve the quality of education in Zambia. Since mid-2011, LLP has worked extensively with ZLS to plan in detail the scale-up of Lubuto Libraries across the country. An updated, more comprehensive MOU has been developed with the MESVTEE which details the relationship between LLP and ZLS.
LLP programme are guided by three crucial elements in education – access, quality, and equity– which are inextricably linked, and are all necessary if improved educational outcomes are to be attained. Access is an important first step imperative for all people to have the opportunity to develop their capacities and to participate fully in society. However, access to poor quality education is of little value. Only high quality education empowers individuals, gives them voice, unlocks their potential, and opens doors to them for the rest of their lives. Equity ensures that access to and the benefits of lifelong learning are shared by all members of society. Using the concept of LLP, access, quality and equity issues can be traced back to several key factors including inadequate learning environments and materials, a narrow approach to educational service provision as well as insufficient local capacity and support to meet the needs of disadvantaged children and youth.
This project build on the one supported by OSISA in 2011 that supported LLP to develop a documentation, monitoring and evaluation programme. Although the completion of this M&E programme is in its final stages, positive outcomes have already been identified as LLP is able to monitor number of children and youths visiting the centres, improvement in learning outcomes, rehabilitation of street children and others as well as reintegration into schools for out of school children and youth. At the same time, the government of Zambia has engaged LLP to help improve its library services and adapt the concept at a larger scale. Currently LLP operates two programmes at Fountain of Hope and Ngwerere Basic School. This project will expand the services to rural communities. In Southern Province, LLP will work with Matantala Rural Integrated Development Enterprise to establish a Lubuto Library in Nabukuyu in Monze District and with St Francis Community School in Itimpi, Kitwe to monitor how the concept can work at the community level.