Once again, thank you so much for your support for our work in building, stocking and maintaining libraries in rural areas in Kenya. Your donation has made a real difference to these very poor communities and we wanted to update you on the progress of our libraries and on what has been achieved with your money over the last year. We also wanted to reassure you that fortunately our libraries have not been directly affected by the post-election troubles in Kenya in recent months.
The major success of the past year has been the opening of our second library in Kakuyuni. Two of our trustees have been able to visit in this period. Pam Dix, a qualified librarian, visited in August 2007 to train the library staff and work with them on developing basic procedures and Nicci Crowther, our Chair, visited in October 2007 to oversee the arrival of 8,000 books from the UK. Both trips were very successful and have really helped the trustees’ understanding of local circumstances. A report from Nicci’s trip is included at the end of this document for your interest.
The Akili Trust has just completed its first official Report and Accounts. We are pleased to have achieved our objectives for library development for this first period and have a cash balance to put towards our strategic plans for next year. We need to maintain donations at the present level for this work to continue and to ensure that we have adequate funding to cover the increasing number of bursary students (two per year per library). If you would like to see a full copy of our Accounts and Annual Report then we would be happy to send these on to you.
Overall, both of the libraries at Dabaso and Kakuyuni have been run well and have made a major impact on reading in the community and the local schools. Newspapers are particularly valued and each newspaper is read by dozens of people. Dabaso School has moved from near the bottom of the table in the area to 2nd best in public exams, an achievement widely believed to be linked to the increased access to books and reading materials. The people in the communities are passionate about the opportunities that education will provide and in this way we are able to have a direct impact on reducing long-term poverty.
Because our charity works directly with the local people without any intermediary agency, we can already see a genuine difference – only possible because of the generosity of our donors, like you. We are also working with colleagues in Kenya to establish a local Akili organisation to help take this work forward.
Request for Donations for 2008
With your continued support we can continue to run both of our libraries and move on to setting up the next one. Examples of current costs are:
The approximate cost for setting up a library, including capital and freight costs, is just under £6,500;
The annual salary for one librarian is approximately £720, or £60-120 per month;
The annual cost of newspapers for one library is £252.
The provision of secondary school bursaries for students has proved to be a powerful statement of our commitment to the community. Only 20% of students who qualify for secondary education can afford to take up these places. Our students are also getting valuable work experience through the work they do in the libraries. We currently fund two new bursaries each year in each school for one boy and one girl student to add to the base of students we are supporting so the number of bursaries needing to be funded is constantly increasing. This is a simple pledge and if you are interested in sponsoring a child then please let us know and we can arrange this.
The annual cost of a bursary for secondary school is between £150 – 200.
Whatever you give us is valuable and, as we hope this paper demonstrates, will be money well spent. The best way to donate is to pledge a regular amount that we can not only rely on but also (where possible) claim gift aid on. Gift Aid is extremely important for us and enables us to claim additional monies from the UK Government on certain donations each year. Last year, for example, we received an additional £1,462 in Gift Aid rebates and this is a very significant sum. There is a Gift Aid form at the end of this document.
Update on current situation in Kenya
We have every hope that the new deal that has been brokered between the political parties will result in a peaceful settlement and will allow the process of democracy to continue in Kenya. We hope that several of the Trustees will be able to visit our libraries this summer. During this visit we will be able to monitor the impact of the present high level of inflation on the running costs of the libraries.
Whether you decide to donate again or not, our main reason for writing is to thank you. Please be assured that the people who are benefiting from the libraries know that this is only achievable through the generosity of people (mostly) in the UK and they are extremely grateful that you have supported their communities in this way.