Rural Library Services and Community Initiatives in Zimbabwe

MOYO, Obadiah T. and CHIBAYA, Debra N. (2017) Rural Library Services and Community Initiatives in Zimbabwe. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 139 - Division V - Regions.

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


Rural Library Services and Community Initiatives in Zimbabwe

This paper seeks to highlight some of the great achievements, best practices and innovations in developing communities through creative initiatives fostered by the Rural Libraries Resources Development Programme (RLRDP). These initiatives also seek to integrate the rural communities to participate holistically in the knowledge economy. In trying to close the gap between urban and rural communities, RLRDP embarked on outreach programmes essential in building communities through knowledge sharing. The information addressed the socio-economic, cultural, educational, political, environmental and technological needs of the communities. These were responsive to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and closer to home, the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe UN Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) as well as the 2013-2018 Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset) programme, (UN in Zimbabwe, 2014). This paper also highlights the steps that are being taken by RLRDP in closing the information gap through the introduction of ICTs within some of its member libraries. Due to the dynamics of technology and influx of information, there is increased information available which has led to what has been coined “information tsunami” by librarians and information professionals. Today, according to IDC (2016) more than 2,5 exabytes (2,5 billion gigabytes) of data are generated every day, an already high number that is expected to continue growing at a significant rate. Statistics released by IDC (2016), the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets experts now predict that 40 zettabytes of data will be in existence in 2020. The RLRDP products and services which are outlined serve as a prototype framework for setting up similar projects in any rural setting, to foster sustainable development in all dimensions. It is common knowledge that rural communities constitute a greater percentage of the total population of any African state, hence empowering these communities ensures that they participate actively in democracy and the knowledge economy. If adopted as a prototype countrywide and subsequently worldwide, within similar communities, the rural communities can be salvaged from poverty.

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