Partnership experience with community libraries in Burkina Faso

KEVANE, Michael (2015) Partnership experience with community libraries in Burkina Faso. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 76 - Libraries for Children and Young Adults. In: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Partnership experience with community libraries in Burkina Faso

This paper describes the various levels of partnerships involved in developing community libraries in Burkina Faso. The paper is grounded in the experience of Friends of African Village Libraries, a small non-profit non-governmental organization that has established and supported 13 village libraries in Burkina Faso and has grant funding to establish another 21 village libraries in the 2015-2016 period. Three levels of partnership are described. First, at the village level, FAVL has been challenged to have close working relationships with local authorities. Burkina Faso only decentralized political administration in 2006. Rural communes were established and mayors elected. But the quality and motivations of rural mayors vary widely. Funding for rural communes is insecure and non-transparent. The paper discusses a formal “convention” document that has been signed with numerous mayors, and discusses practical implementation issues. Second, partnership with national library authorities has been difficult and is constantly shifting. In Burkina Faso, public libraries are supported by a division in the Ministry of Culture. This division has been underfunded, and there are numerous allegations (including one investigation) on corruption at the senior level. There is little public accountability (no publication of reports or independent evaluation). FAVL continues to engage with national authorities, and personnel is renewed there is periodic hope for a genuine partnership. Third, FAVL partners with other non-profit organizations. These outside partnerships, with EIFL, Rotary International, and Catholic Relief Services, bring different challenges, especially in terms of reporting and accounting. The paper will give several strategies for working with such organizations.

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