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The West Nile Libraries Network

 

Why the West Nile?

 

           The West Nile is one of the neediest regions of Uganda, where the combined effects of poverty, illiteracy, and book famine are particularly felt. It has faced a series of geographical and historical challenges. It is separated from the rest of Uganda by the White Nile River, flowing out of Lake Albert. It borders the volatile countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, and large numbers of refugees from those countries provide additional burdens. It is the birthplace of the disgraced former dictator Idi Amin, and is unfortunately associated with the deadly West Nile virus – even though that disease originated elsewhere, and was simply identified and named in the West Nile. It has also been associated with the activities of cult leader Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army’s terrorized nearby areas made travel to the area very difficult.

 

            Nevertheless, the West Nile region has a foundation from which great progress is possible.  It has a people that are very interested in education as a solution to their problems.  There are also important natural resources, particularly soil and weather conducive to agricultural productivity. These, combined with the friendliness of the people support a foundation of hope for progress.

 

Future Work in the West Nile

 

 

            In June 2017 Good Steward is planning to establish new community libraries in each of the six Districts of Arua, the largest city in the West Nile. We also hope to complete our goal of establishing libraries in each of the 8 prisons in the West Nile. And we will continue to send additional books and build additional community libraries as well as dozens of more mobile libraries, altogether serving the over three million people in the area.  To accomplish our mission, we need volunteers who are willing to travel with us to Uganda.  If you are interested or simply want more information, email us.

Progress to Date

 

            Good Steward has helped to build and is supporting a network of community libraries in Northwest Uganda, near the Nile.

This summer, 2016, eight volunteers traveled to the West Nile District to establish these libraries and service the existing network.

  • Rhino Camp High School

  • Zion Methodist School Library

  • Pakwach Schools Initiative- 7 schools including Pajobi Blind School for Children

  • Erussi

  • Parambo

  • Ragem Prison

  • Paidha Prison​

Volunteers revisited, rejuvenated, and re-opened the Arua Children’s Library. We checked on, and brought new books to, previously established community libraries in Wadelai, Okollo, Logiri, and Pakwach, as well as prison libraries at Arua Men’s Prison and Arua Women’s Prison. We also had productive meetings to promote our alliances with the African Prison Project and the Uganda National Library.

 

                     In June, 2015,  Good Steward established libraries in these locations in the West Nile:

  • Okollo Community Library

  • Logiri Community Library

  • Rhino Camp Community Library

  • Omugu Community Library

  • Arua Men’s Prison Library

  • Arua Women’s Prison Library

  • Gili Gili Teen Correctional Facility

  • The Children’s Library in Arua town

  • Adjumani District Library

 

We provided additional books (largely new material and replacement books) to the following libraries that we had previously helped establish:

  • Zombo District Library

  • Pakwach Community Library est. 2014

  • Nebbi District Library est. June/October 2014

  • Wadelai Community Library est. 2014

  • Maracha Community Library est. 2014

  • Maracha Rainbow Library est. 2014

  • Koboko District Library

  • Moyo Town Council Library est. 2014

  • Moyo District Library est. 2014

  • Panyimur Community Library est. Oct. 2014

  • Bethel School Library in Zeu

                    

 

             In October of 2014 a combined training session and inaugural meeting of the West Nile Libraries Association was held in Arua, which was attended, with our great gratitude, by representatives of the National Library of Uganda, from Kampala.

Good Steward also provided additional books to existing libraries at the Nile University (Arua) and Uganda Christian University (Arua) to assist those schools in achieving their goals for certification. Collectively, these libraries serve tens of thousands of people.

We are also assisted several libraries that are expanding, including:

 

            A district Library in Adjumani

            The Uganda College of Commerce—Pakwach

            The Nile University—Arua