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Lubuto Library Partners

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Education, International, International Relief, Libraries

Mission: Lubuto Library Partners is an innovative development organization that builds the capacity of public libraries to create opportunities for equitable education and poverty reduction. Its mission is to enlighten and enrich the lives of children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa, especially those not in school and highly vulnerable. Lubuto constructs enduring open-access libraries whose design is inspired by traditional and contemporary social, economic and cultural patterns and which freely offer comprehensive collections of well-chosen books and technology resources. These libraries serve as safe havens and are the center for dynamic library programming offering education, psychosocial support and self-expression through reading, music, art, drama, computers, mentoring and other activities. Lubuto maintains a continuous monitoring and evaluation learning relationship for children and youth library services. The impressive track record of the growing network of Lubuto libraries, owned and operated by Zambian organizations, provides a model poised to scale regionally. Sustainability has been central to all aspects of Lubuto's model since inception.

Results: The problem: The HIV/AIDS pandemic, conflict, systemic breakdown and poverty have left millions of African youth isolated from their communities and cast off. Looking forward, exponential population growth threatens to overwhelm the capacity to support the exploding numbers of children, including those with disabilities. Lubuto, teaming up with community-based programs has pioneered a model for addressing the problems of specific communities and countries. In the time since its founding as a grassroots initiative, Lubuto Library Partners has maintained a constant focus on learning from experience to increasingly meet its goals. With three currently operating libraries, the headline figures—over 1.5 million visits by 140,000 children, and over 20,000 program participants—point to both the extraordinary need and the potential for meeting it. The libraries, which are far and away the most heavily used in Zambia, have supported over 6,000 marginalized children and youth, and provided life-changing mentoring to more than 3,500 adolescents, including programs that kept over 1,500 girls in school and HIV/AIDS-free. Programs for young mothers and the deaf have brought neglected populations out of the shadows and into opportunities for growth. Lubuto knows its beneficiaries and has hundreds of stories to share about the lives it has changed for the better. Building on the foundation that it had established, Lubuto successfully pioneered the use of public libraries as a platform for programs that keep adolescent girls in school and HIV/AIDS-free with the support of a PEPFAR/DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant. Supported by this grant, we exceeded our target for re-enrolling girls in school by 172% and contributed to retaining in school all of the girls with whom we worked. We maintained, over a 2-year period, a 100% HIV testing and counseling referral completion rate by offering on-site testing and counseling. This experience also demonstrated the effectiveness of Lubuto Libraries as a platform for identifying excellent candidates for school scholarship support and for outreach aimed at reducing the vulnerability of teenage girls to transactional sex, and for changing views on gender-based violence.

Target demographics: We serve vulnerable African children and youth, ages 0 - 25, particularly targeting street children, young mothers and infants, orphaned and out-of-school children and youth.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each Lubuto Library has more than 50,000 visits per year. The primary beneficiaries of the Lubuto Library Project are OVCY in targeted communities (identified in consultation with government and local authorities), including street children, out-of-school youth, OVCY who have experienced trauma, and those living in dire, isolated or exploitive circumstances.

Geographic areas served: SubSaharan Africa, starting in Zambia and soon to expand to Malawi

Programs: 3 times per week sign language storytimes Zambian Language Literacy Program English-language literacy program Family literacy program with childcare for young mothers Health and HIV programming Role model mentoring Technology & internet programming including information and digital literacy, coding Film screenings Drama Daily read-aloud program Visual arts Early childhood program Teen program

Community Stories

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lubuto Library Partners has proven to be a flexible, adaptable model that shapes its services around the needs of the community. One of the things that stood out to me the most as a volunteer was the emphasis placed on technology. Even in the rural libraries, Lubuto strives to provide computer access and valuable technology skills to the community. This technology has been used as a vector for providing online literacy lessons in native Zambian languages, breaking traditional gender norms, and expediting equity in the community. I am beyond thankful for the impact Lubuto has made on many Zambian communities and to have been a part of this impact myself.

Donor

Rating: 5

The AIDs epidemic in Africa has left so many children neglected - if their parents are alive and unable to care for them - or orphaned - if their parents have died. In addition, girls and disadvantaged youths are often ignored or held back for any number of reasons. Lubuto Libraries create a safe and caring environment for constructive learning. This is a necessity and thankfully Jane Kinney Myers and the Lubuto Library Partners are putting their hearts and souls into keeping this amazing organization alive and well for children and youth in need.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a development specialist working in the education sector and I have known of Lubuto since 2010. I first visited a Lubuto Library in 2011 and I was impressed with the concept and more so that they were located in the "belly" of a community whose needs they were serving. Over the years I have been impressed with the steady expansion of the organisation without losing its focus on the most need and vulnerable.

More recently, I have become a board member of Lubuto Library helping to strengthen the capacity of the team to manage the programme. This new role has given me insights into the nature of the organisation and particularly the work that volunteers do to raise funds to keep the work of Lubuto in Zambia going. This is humbling as the communities that are served would never have the opportunity to access the high quality services they receive. Lubuto is a development concept which awakens communities in slumber and gets them noticed.

Board Member

Rating: 5

For many years, I have been following Lubuto Library Partners' work remotely as an educationist and through my contacts with Jane. Now that I am working closely with them as the first chairperson for the Local Board, I have had the opportunity to look from the inside and see first hand and get deeper understanding of the amazing work they do. I find the LLP model to be unique in the sense that it is based on partnership with government and local communities for sustainability and cost effectiveness and that it targets excluded children such as those with disabilities, orphans and street children.
My first direct contact with the library was when we held the first meeting for the local board in the Ngwerere Library located at Ngwerere School right in the heart of the under resourced Garden township. I was awed by the number of children inside and around the library area, an indication that there was a force/magnet drawing the children to the area and going inside the library, there was no doubt in my mind as to why this was the case. The conducive and welcoming atmosphere reflected in the sparks in the children's eyes as they held books in their hands some of the them for the first time. In my interactions with the children, I learnt that most of the children came to the library because in addition to reading, they had an opportunity to work on a computer, listen to stories told in their local language, watch videos and to play and just be children. The libraries are therefore more than just places for reading. They are community centers providing safe spaces for programs to keep children out of mischief and a platform for keeping them in school. I am excited at the opportunity to chair the local board of this robust and credible organization which is contributing to reducing illiteracy and improving learning outcomes the reading culture of vulnerable children and youth. I congratulate the staff and the volunteers for their dedication and commitment to supporting the work of Lubuto.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Lubuto Library Project-Partners is a valuable initiative which provide access to information to the vulnerable children in Zambia who would under normal circumstances not have had a chance to gain access to information due to deteriorating library and educational services in Zambia. Lubuto provide this information by taking the information services to the door steps of such children. All Lubuto Public libraries are located in carefully selected places where they are needed most. I recently visited one of the Lubuto Libraries in Garden Compound in Lusaka and was thrilled by the conducive environment provided by the library to the young underleveraged children whom seemed to have been more at home at Lubuto Libraries than any other place. The young people were playing, reading and doing all sorts of activities which go a long way in improving their educational standards in the process keeping them away from illicit activities. It is not an exaggeration to say that Lubuto Library partners are indeed contributing to raising a responsible generation of young people in Zambia. Well done Jane for these services as Zambia looks forward to more such public libraries build.
Benson Njobvu
Past President of Library and Information Association of Zambia, Past Head of Department at the University of Zambia Department of Library and Information Science and currently Lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Zambia.

Jeanne M.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Lubuto Library Partners (LLP) for many years, and have become more aware of the breadth and scope of their activities as a Board member over the past two years. LLP supports many activities to reach the underserved and vulnerable children and adolescents in its libraries in Lusaka and rural Zambia. I continue to be amazed at the creativity of the LLP President, LLP staff and LLP organizations in Zambia as they implement new activities. For example, LLP uses the library as a meeting place to expose these children to their own culture (e.g. storytelling and literacy skills in seven local languages) and to new ideas with access to computers and computer skills. LLP has extended its reach to deaf children by offering sign language training so that deaf children are not left behind. LLP Mentoring Program provides opportunity for vulnerable Zambian children and adolescents to meet successful Zambian professional to help them to expand their horizons as to their future. I believe that the investments that LLP is making in Zambia are truly making a difference.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board this year, but have known about Lubuto Library Partner's work in Zambia for many years. Several years, I "dropped in" the Lusaka Library in Lusaka and was very impressed with the engagement of the staff, the friendly environment, and the variety of programs that were offered. I just thought what a great place for children to have so they can explore the world beyond their own sphere. Lubuto Library Partners is so much more than just a collection of books, and there is such a need for the kinds of programs that Lubuto implements to address the needs of the forgotten children around the world. After retiring from over 30 years in health and research training projects, I was pleased to be asked to join as a board member to help to support its work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Being part of Lubuto Library Partners' growth over the years and seeing first-hand the impact of Lubuto's programs on Zambian children's lives strengthened my commitment to our mission to change lives through child-friendly, culture-specific, and well-equipped learning spaces all through Sub-Saharan Africa.

What’s special about Lubuto libraries? It's about libraries doing what good libraries do best.

Connecting children with the world through books, art, dance, drama, technology, and socialization.

Championing the rights of all children to secure safe spaces where they can dream a better future and realize their potential.

Creating learning environments that empower all children, but especially the neglected and marginalized, to appreciate their culture and participate in society.

Developing programs that help children develop healthy attitudes, minds and bodies in order to thrive as they deserve.

I believe that the successes of Lubuto Library Partners in modeling programs and services for --Reading as the foundation for education and literacy --Technology as a tool for learning; --Mentoring programs as activities for self-esteem and confidence --Storytelling, art, and drama as expressions of history and culture --Partnerships with local communities for sustainability and outreach and --Promotion of healthy behaviors and norms, is unmatched in libraries outside of the U.S.

I am so proud of this small, energetic, committed organization that has demonstrated how libraries can make a real difference for thousands of young people.

Previous Stories
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Board Member

Rating: 5

After 7 years on the Board of Directors of the Lubuto Library Partners (LLP), I made my first trip to Zambia last fall to see the results of Jane's vision and leadership carried out by dedicated staff, and bolstered by so many friends and supporters of Lubuto. Entering the beautiful library buildings and witnessing the children and youth lining up to participate in Lubuto's special programs in the arts, drama, storytelling, computer technology, mentoring and outreach was like nothing else I'd encountered in my professional library career. What a positive affirmation of the work LLP does!

One of my most memorable experiences was accompanying the Lubuto staff members, Kenny and Brenda, as they conducted a regularly scheduled outreach to street kids in the busy Soweto market in Lusaka. These youth, abandoned by society to form their own loose bands to survive, were so eager for attention from caring persons who had come not to threaten, abuse, or chase them away but to read, counsel, and interact with them that it hardly mattered what book Kenny opened to share with them. It was as if for the short time we were there, the boys could be transported from the hopelessness of their daily lives to the possibility of the safe and nurturing environment that the open-access Lubuto libraries offer.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Lubuto Library Partners is an inspirational organization! Thoughout my five years on Lubuto's Board of Directors, I have been so impressed by Lubuto's unwavering commitment to serve vulnerable children by providing opportunities for kids to continue to grow, learn, and thrive. I am consistently awed by the deep respect for the rights of all children sits at the heart of Lubuto's mission. Thanks to Lubuto's dedicated and talented staff and volunteers, the libraries consistently offer high quality programs that meet the needs of the kids we serve - through carefully-designed books collections, participation in drama and art, and building computer skills. Lubuto means "light", and Lubuto changes lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having volunteered at Lubuto Library Partners the past few months, it has be an amazing experience because i have had a chance to work on various activities which include my favorite hobby which is photography, i was given the opportunity to practice my photography by taking pictures at the various activities which happen not just at the library but also at schools where Lubuto had running programs. Aside from that i was given a chance to work with adolescent girls for a book club that happens at the Model Library. Lubuto gave me chance to learn how to work with a different computer program for data entry which in turn helped me acquire a new skill. Lubuto is doing an excellent job in improving literacy levels and among boys, girls and young mothers and allowing them to express themselves and become empowered and i am happy to be part of such a big project that continues to change the lives of people in communities and a learning process for me as an individual.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked as a volunteer for Lubuto Library Partners under the DREAMS Family Literacy Program since May 2017, an experience I will cherish forever. As a fresh graduate with no prior work experience, I never thought that I would be given an opportunity to work as a volunteer for such a huge project. For the past one year, I have gained experience that I would probably have never gotten from any other organisation. Lubuto Library Partners is doing an amazing job in the lives of many young mothers who had lost hope after getting pregnant while in school. However, many of them now have the motivation they need to go back to school and finish their high school and all this is thanks to Lubuto Library Partners.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have an amazing chance to volunteer with Lubuto Libraries. And i must applaud them for the amazing work they are doing with the kids and young women. Indeed we need more initiatives like this one to help groom our children, who are the future.
I enjoy every minute spent at the library, being someone who is passionate about helping kids.

Thank you Lubuto Libraries for your great work, keep it up!

Marjorie G.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

During a career break in 2009 I contacted Jane to enquire about volunteering opportunities. Within a few hours we were chatting on the phone and soon after I was on my way to Lusaka! I had the privilege to work in the Fountain of Hope branch (the only Lubuto library at the time) for a few months and witness first hand the impact of the programs on children's lives. Jane was (and still is) a visionary leader, and her passion is a common thread throughout the organization. Since 2009 I have been in awe of the successful growth and expansion of Lubuto Partners. The innovative ideas abound - Lubuto Libraries are right on trend with what we do in my area! This is an amazing nonprofit that is doing everything right. I support them since 2009 and continue with no hesitation every year because the important work they do is done so well.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The actual books are only the surface of Lubuto. Behind every book is a heaping respect for the needs of the children who read them. Every book that Lubuto offers is deliberately researched and chosen to match the developmental stages of the children. And Lubuto offers more than books, providing a community that responds to the interests and needs that present themselves.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been following Jane Meyer’s dream for her Lubuto Libraries almost from its inception. Her overarching concern from the start was to make her dream one that would blend in with Zambian culture. This included the staffing and other personnel resources, the architecture, the books and other media, the specific needs of the communities the libraries are serving. Education in many forms has also been a driving force and her accomplishments, and those of the skillful staff implementing all the creative ideas generated are reflected in the success of the children who avail themselves of all that is offered. One of my favorite outcomes is the current librarian working in one of the libraries who once was a student there—proof positive that the Lubuto Libraries are fulfilling the original dream of Jane Meyers. I am happy to be a donor and will continue to be as long as I can.

1 Marc H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In their new book, Our Towns, James Fallows and Deborah Fallows write that "[in]side public libraries…you see the people, programs, problems, and answers that offer a genuine look in to the heart and soul of a town." This quote resonates when I think of Lubuto’s mission and the inspiring work it has done to strengthen and empower communities in Zambia. It’s been privilege these past few years to help bring the uplifting stories and images from Lubuto to an audience around the world and illuminate the common threads that unite us all.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became aware of the Lubuto Library Project in the summer of 2012. Jane Meyers’ energy and enthusiasm for the Project was instantly infectious and I was excited to lend a hand with their digital marketing outreach. It's been a pleasure to work with the Lubuto team. Their focus and camaraderie has been inspiring and I've been moved by the positive impact the Project's work is having on the lives of Zambian street children. It’s rewarding to have the opportunity to play (a small) part in a project that is so clearly a big force in changing people's lives by providing access to resources previously unavailable.

1 Travis F.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am consistently impressed by Lubuto.

- They are dedicated to the children they serve.

- Innovative in their programming. (I’m incredibly impressed by their efforts fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. That’s just a year old. There was a growth in the rate of infection in young girls, and they were Johnny-on-the-Spot fighting back.)

- Have earned my trust. I have donated for almost ten years, and I earnestly believe that every penny I donate is used to the fullest.

- They make me proud to be a librarian and a human being. They help a lot of kids.

1 Brandy K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What I appreciate most about Lubuto Library Partners is that the founder, Jane Kinney Meyers, is a librarian. She knows how to effectively use donations not only to build physical structures, but to imbue those structures with the people, materials and processes that can transform libraries into community centers offering tools for health, education, inspiration and healing.

1 Writer

Donor

Rating: 5

I met Jane Meyers almost 10 years ago and was immediately struck by her dedication and professionalism. As founder of the Lubuto Library Partners, she has worked diligently to change the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable in Zambia through exposure to library services. I trusted with my daughter, who volunteered for her in Lusaka for almost a year. I've personally seen the difference Lubuto makes in children's lives by visiting the Lusaka library and meeting the children there. It has been my pleasure to host a fundraiser for Lubuto and to donate for years. The world would be a better place with more Jane Kinney Meyers'.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A wonderful nonprofit that takes care to engage with the communities around their libraries, learning how to best serve each location.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lubuto libraries are extraordinary! They are constantly learning and growing to meet the needs of the children and youth that they serve. In doing this, they help marginalized children to grasp their humanity and youth from the community to join together, gaining life skills and joy in programs ranging from drama and art to computers and chess. Lubuto's programs are also keeping teenage girls in school, supporting the development of career goals, and keeping them HIV/AIDS-free. Lubuto libraries save lives and help create a better future.

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited the Lubuto Libraries and seen the joy on the faces of children for whom they are portals to the larger world, and oases in which they can share the simple pleasures of reading with friends, learning new skills, and finding a productive path in life. For some vulnerable children they have been the difference between hopelessness and hope. They are cherished by their users and communities.

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