As we are having a lot of enquiries about our work in Ghana, I thought I’d put together a summary of our approach and work so far. If you have any further questions, please do email email@example.com. In particular, we are looking for further support in the form of finance and resources.
Reading Spots is a literacy project (UK registered charity number 1166734) set up in 2015 by a Ghanaian driver, two UK teachers and six pupils keen to make an impact on educational resources available to Ghanaians in remote areas. The project aims to raise funds to create sustainable and community-led education spaces in rural areas of Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Library Authority. The ‘spots’ are shared by all schools and individuals in an area. This is particularly in response to the demand for reading material in Ghana, with few books available despite ‘The Library’ being one of the core sections of the Ghana Education Service’s English curriculum. The project also engages pupils in the UK and Ghana in an active exploration of charitable ethics and development, whilst promoting African fiction and non-fiction and the value of reading more widely.
Since 2015 we have raised over £120,000 to construct eight community-led ‘Reading Spots’, a classroom block in Ghana, and support several other smaller projects. In the process we have shipped over 20,000 books, buying £1500 of African books. Our work is supported mainly by the fundraising efforts of Brighton College pupils and parents; however, more recently we have been given significant support from the Chalk Cliff Trust, the Fonthill Foundation, The Ashworth Charitable Trust, The Stella Symonds Foundation, and The Edith M Ellis 1985 Charitable Trust. We have also received support of various forms from a number of UK schools, and hope to expand the project to create a network of UK schools.
The project is run by 30 Ghanaians who volunteer in the ‘spots’ on a daily basis with the aim of improving educational opportunities in their respective areas. For a video summarising the project visit here.
All money donated goes directly to: book delivery, library construction, furniture (made by locals), and purchasing African fiction. To give you an idea of what your sponsorship could pay for:
- £100 could buy 400 budget African fiction books or about 20 text books.
- £1000 would furnish an entire library.
- £6000 constructs a small community library (size of one classroom)
- £12,000 constructs a two-roomed community library (rooms for adults and children)
- £20,000 constructs a large 2 storey library with volunteer rooms.
We have numerous projects ongoing at any one time, with many more communities requesting ‘spots’ in their area. Do email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss a donation or partnership. We are always keen to talk!
The link to donate or set up a fundraising page for us is: www.justgiving.com/reading-spots
These are the key principles of our ‘spots’:
- They are owned and managed centrally by the community (or in a few cases by a private school willing to run the facility for wider community benefit). From the outset, community traditional leaders, district assembly men, and local Ghana Education Services representatives are involved.
- All schools in the area are able to access the facility – we hope all local schools to have timetabled periods in the ‘spot’, with further resource boxes and books available to ‘sign out’ from the library.
- We offer ongoing support in the form of librarian training, ideas to improve usage of the library and increase pupil motivation, and providing new resources as requested by the community. We have a particular focus on the provision of African fiction and non-fiction.
- All ongoing costs are paid for by the community. This includes funds to sponsor a librarian, electricity costs, and any other maintenance work. We hope to support the creation of small entrepreneurial stationary and books stalls attached to the ‘spots’ to help raise funds for these costs. We are also currently looking for sponsors to install solar power for lighting in all of the ‘spots’.
- We are working with communities in setting up various clubs for pupils and adults. In Akumadan the local SHS has numerous pupils involved in leading clubs in science, drama, debating and reading.
- We aim to use local carpenters and constructions workers as far as possible.
For more information visit www.readingspots.org.
Elmina (inside Adom Prep School)
Tamale (inside High Standards Girls’ School)
Tema (African Science Academy support for popular science and African sections)
Youth leader small grants programme!
Supporting some schools with resource boxes:
Literacy festivals and initiatives in the UK:
Book drives in the UK:
Penpal reading partnerships:
In September-December 2017 we wrote an online course to introduce pupils in the UK and Africa to key themes and debates in development and charity. See here for more information. Do email email@example.com if you would like your school to join this free course next September when it is rewritten.
Cat Davison (chair) has written other articles alongside the Ghanaians working in our projects to assist with literacy development, and linked to an MA in Education and International Development at UCL. She is living in Ghana for this academic year on a sabbatical year sponsored by Brighton College.