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EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme (PLIP) invites public and community libraries in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda to apply for grants to use information and communication technology (ICT) to extend their services to improve lives in their communities.
The grants aim to inspire libraries to design and implement services aimed at fulfilling community needs in five crucial development areas: agriculture, improving people’s employment prospects, health, vulnerable children and youth at risk and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. EIFL-PLIP will award grants of up to US$15,000 to successful applicants. The grant invitation follows findings a six-country study into perceptions of public libraries in Africa, which found that the general public, librarians, and local and national government officials believe libraries can – and should – contribute to community development. However, the study also found that most libraries lack the resources – especially the technology – they need to provide community development services.
The study was commissioned by EIFL-PLIP and took place in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In November 2011 EIFL-PLIP presented research findings in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and entered into dialogue with government officials and library leadership about how to address challenges facing libraries.
Modern technology – like computers, the Internet and smart phones – dramatically increases access to information and knowledge. Libraries are already important providers of local information, but because they are under-resourced, they are often overlooked as community development partners.
EIFL-PLIP aims to help libraries realize their potential by supporting them to use ICT to develop vital information services focused on community needs.
This grant invitation builds on previous EIFL-PLIP work, which demonstrates that with limited additional support, libraries in developing and transition countries can successfully implement community information services using ICT. New grant applicants are encouraged to study the work of EIFL-PLIP grantees, and of other libraries and information service providers, and to replicate successful models, best practices and ideas.
The deadline for proposals is January 31, 2012.