Problem: According to the World Bank, Nicaragua is listed among the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Education efforts have improved over the years, yet at the present time, there are still approximately 300,000 children outside the educational system. The ability to read, write and understand printed material is a fundamental skill necessary for academic success, most employment and daily life in general. Access to quality reading material is nearly non-existent for many children.
Solution: The Lending Library project meets the acute need for accessible quality reading materials in rural and urban communities. The primary goal is to offer reading opportunities for children and adults in selected communities of Nicaragua. Being able to check out books and take them home encourage leisure reading and parental involvement in various reading environments (home, school and library.)
Credential: W/NP has a 50 year history of bringing together volunteers and citizens of both countries to create relationships and to work to find solutions to common problems, leveraging international and local resources ultimately improving quality of life for all involved. Current and past studies unanimously demonstrate the importance of introducing and exposing children to reading materials at an early age.
Methods: Upon acquisition, educational resources and reading materials are distributed at selected W/NP Learning Centers in Nicaragua where over 17 lending libraries have been set up. These libraries increase learning opportunities for parents and children.
Sustainability: The limited educational system in Nicaragua has resulted in a population that embraces every learning opportunity. The few resources available are utilized with utmost efficiency and manner.
We have plans and requests for several new libraries and for help to support those already started. We welcome and need your support to continue this project that promotes reading and literacy development.
Part of the Library program is working with kids and having activities throughout the year. These are pictures of the card project the kids at the library were working on. Patricia & Mirna with their crew cutting paper and cards out from Christmas magazines. Something interesting is that while Patricia was busy with the girls, her daughter Edith was in charge of the library. There is a pic of her attending a little girl who is a neighbor, really cute pic. Also they are going to make 70 cards for the library in Esquipulas in Ometepe, they will be sent ready to give to the kids, with a piñata and a bike as a prize to the best reader of the year. It’s all for a good cause and we so appreciate Mirna, Patricia and the kids helping out with these projects.
Why work on literacy projects in Nicaragua? When reviewing information from the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) recently, our commitment for working on projects that will provide literacy opportunities for the people of Nicaragua was reaffirmed. On average, Nicaraguans complete fewer than six years of schooling, and many remain outside the formal education system all together. Ask anyone who has been to the country recently, its not hard to believe these statistics as young children are everywhere selling items at the stop lights, fixing roads and tending to animals.
The dramatic growth of W/NP Learning Centers clearly illustrates the need and desire among Nicaraguans for further education and skill development. The Learning Centers... what better place to introduce and house a lending library!
Research unanimously demonstrates the importance of introducing and exposing children to reading materials at an early age. We already have the Learning Centers, which is a place in the community associated with skill development. Why not begin lending libraries within the center that will provide access to reading materials for all ages, children through adult?
At the launch ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frchette said, "Literacy remains part of the unfinished business of the 20th century. One of the success stories of the 21st century must be the extension of literacy to include all humankind There is no time to lose if the world is to meet the Millennium Development Goal of increasing literacy rates by one half by 2015.
Click here to view the list of the Lending Libraries.
What Can You Do?
Please contact the W/NP office if you would like to participate in the library project.
- Collect Spanish reading materials
- Donate funds to purchase books
- Come along and visit the libraries in Nicaragua as we celebrate the gift of reading!
- Spanish Class Project - make books in Spanish for the Libraries