Thursday, August 10, 2017

ULIA holds second IAP workshop in Northern Uganda: Excitement hits Librarians in the Region

Group photo of some of the Participants
The Uganda Library and Information Association has taken IFLA’s International Advocacy Programmee (IAP) by storm. In less than a month, the professional library body in Uganda has twice made media captions through her IAP workshops. On the 24th to 26th July 2017, ULIA held its inaugural IFLA-IAP workshop at the Uganda Christian University, Mable, and Eastern Uganda. On the 7th to 9th August, 2017, ULIA shifted her IAP sensitization guns to Gulu, far north of the country.  

The workshop was officially opened by Hon. Ojara Mapenduzi- Gulu District LC 5 Chairperson. Honorable Mapenduzi was very pleased to learn that the library fraternity was ready to support the realization of the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda.  

He said: “The current global development framework focuses on inclusive philosophy whereby, no one, poor or rich, should be left behind. All the SDGs will require the use of information as key to the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. I am happy Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA) is making the case for why it is important for all libraries to be central to the UN Agenda and Development. Libraries should empower citizens with choice and control over the decisions that impact their lives, their communities and their nation”. 

The Honorable further promised to work with the librarians in the Northern Uganda to implement his manifesto. He was now aware that libraries had a role to play in the attainment of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. He was also now aware that the reading culture of his people was still very poor hence the need for an active public library and a vibrant ULIA to manage this challenge.

The local politician was happy to see, the son of the soil – Prof. Constant Okello-Obura, Principal, College of Computing & Information Sciences (CoCIS) and immediate past President of ULIA, talking about development strategies of Gulu district and the role libraries could play in the UN 2030 Agenda.

Dr. Raphael Aregu- University Librarian, Gulu University and Mr. David Tibemenya, Principal Administrator, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital jointly made the welcome remarks. Dr. Sarah Kaddu, the current President of ULIA gave the overview on the IAP workshop.
Principal, Gulu Regional Referral hospital 
addressing participants

Dr. Kaddu, who is also an IAP Trainer, imparted knowledge and skills to the participants on how they could develop library programmes and align them to the National Development Agenda, Vision 2040, the Cape Town Declaration 2015 (Agenda 2063), and the Lyon Declaration 2013. Kaddu put particular emphasis on Goal 16:10 which directly speaks to the libraries and access to information. She further emphasised working with decision and policy makers towards developing library programmes that are aligned with the current development agendas within Uganda.

Currently, Northern Uganda has got a total of 30 districts, making it one of the biggest provinces in Uganda. The region is well known for the infamous civil war led by Joseph Kony. The region suffered from civil unrest since the early 1980s and this lasted for over two decades. 

Hundreds of people were killed in the rebellion against the Ugandan government, and an estimated 1.4 million people were left homeless. The war not only displaced people but also utterly destroyed northern Uganda’s social services sector including agriculture, education, transport, health and the economic base.  Programs such IAP are seen as timely and God sent for the natives. They are geared towards restoring hope and parity in the region.

Speaking after the Workshop, Mr. Steven Okurut commented: “This is God sent. As a result of this workshop, I now know the role of my public library; I can now take the duty I had declined, to brief my Area MP and my Council about the role of Moroto public library. Certainly I shall request for his full support in mobilising resources for its development and my advocacy work begins next week.’

Ms. Shilla Adyero, a Community Librarian was all praises for the workshop because many of the participants heard of ULIA for the first time. Ms Adyero and her colleagues vowed to support the ULIA programs to advocate for the library programmes and the role of her community library in disseminating information for development thereby supporting the UNESCO Agenda, 2030. 

At the end of the workshop, participants had developed the draft Advocacy programmes that they would further share with the decision and policy makers. They were particularly very grateful that ULIA was rolling out the Advocacy workshop to ALL regions of Uganda and East Africa. To them, advocacy is not one of the courses the LIS schools have considered in their curricular yet very important. They promised to initiate change in their libraries and also partner with decision makers, community leaders, policy makers and all the people who may cause change in the library services sector.

During Group Discussions
The Northern and West Nile Region IAP workshop attracted thirty two (32) Participants who came from: Gulu Regional Referral hospital, Lira University, Lutino Adunu Nwoya community library, Gulu university library, Cavendish university Gulu, Arua public library, Nebbi Municipal Council, Paidha public , one public library, NTC Unyama, Gulu SOCO, Gulu public library, Nebbi public library, Moroto public library, Arua Public library and Gulu District Local Government. The workshop was closed by Dr. Pasca Apio. Dr. Apio said she was hearing about ULIA and SDGs for the first time.
The IAP guns will now shift to Western Uganda in October 2017.

Well-done IFLA and ULIA for informing the world. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SCECSAL member Associations to adopt amended constitution in 2018

The SCECSAL member Associations will in April 2018, in Entebbe, Uganda at the SCECSAL Business meeting, discuss and adopt the amended constitution of the organization.

Following a decision, at the XXIInd SCECSAL Conference in 2016 in Swaziland, to establish a permanent SCECSAL Secretariat and the acrimonious situation that arose during the process to appoint the host of the XXIIIrd SCECSAL conference in 2018, the member Associations resolved to emend the constitution to bring it in line with the new developments.
Representatives of SCECSAL member Associations
at the XXIInd SCECSAL Conference held in Ezulwini,
Swaziland in 2016 [Photo: Justin Chisenga]

The Associations specifically resolved “to review and amend the SCECSAL constitution to include terms of reference for the proposed Permanent Secretariat and other appropriate provisions to strengthen SCECSAL operations and monitoring mechanisms, and simplify the biding process for hosting SCECSAL”.

Since June 2016, the Presidents and Chairpersons of the SCECSAL member Associations have held five rounds of consultations on the proposed text to amend the constitution mainly through email communication and one Skype session.

The final draft of the amended constitution, to be discussed in April 2018 in Uganda, include new articles and clauses on:
  • Registering SCECSAL as a non-governmental organization in a SCECSAL member country;
  • Mandate and key functions of the SCECSAL Permanent Secretariat;
  • Establishing a SCECSAL Executive Board;
  • Sanctioning member Associations not meeting their constitutional obligations;
  • Formation of interest groups.

SCECSAL last amended its constitution in April 2000, in Namibia, when it replaced the document that was initially drafted in the 1970s.

Library and information professionals in the SCECSAL region can contribute to the SCECSAL constitution amendment process through their Associations from where they can also obtain copies of the draft document.

Several other documents to support the implementation of the amended constitution once it is adopted, are under development and they include SCECSAL bylaws, guidelines for selecting the host for the Permanent SCECSAL Secretariat and hosts for future SCECSAL conferences, and guidelines for the Author of the Year Award and the Best SCECSAL Conference Papers Award.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

ULIA conducts inaugural International Advocacy Program (IAP) workshop

The Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA) has held its inaugural workshop for the International Federation of the Library and Information Institutions (IFLA)'s International Advocacy Programe (IAP) at the Uganda Christian University, in Mbale, from 24th to 26th July 2017.

The IAP is IFLA's a "new capacity-building programme designed to promote and support the role libraries can play in the planning and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs".

The inaugural IAP workshop attracted fifty participants from: Kumi University, Mbale School of Hygiene, Uganda Technical College-Elgon, St. Aloysuis CPTC, Mbale SS, Pallisa Public Library, Kapyoyon High School, Busitema Uiversity, UCC-Soroti, IUIU Mbale, Wiggins Sec School, Masaba SS, UCU-Mbale, Soroti Public Library, Busia Public Library, Kamuli Public Library, Mbale Public Library, Nambi Sseppunya Community Resource Centre, Tororo Public Library, Busolwe Public Library, DWW Children Library and Resource Centre, UTC-Elgon, Uganda Christian University, MUC and Mbale District Local Government. 
Group photo of some of the participants
The workshop was officially opened by the Mbale LC5 Chairperson Mr. Mujasi.  The veteran politician emphasized the importance of identifying problems of the communities we are meant to serve and be able to provide adequate solutions to these problems.  His office pledged to support the advocacy activities from the librarians as well as supporting the development of the library sector within Mbale district. 

Dr. Steven Mungoma addressing participants
Dr. Steven Mungoma the Principal, Uganda Christian University Mbale Campus noted the importance of reading, the value of librarians and the librarians’ roles in changing the mind-sets and supporting the realization of the SDGs.

ULIA President Dr Sarah Kaddu was present and gave an overview of the inaugural IAP workshop. Dr.Kaddu said “We will ensure that the International Advocacy Programme gives the library sector the capacity to create and promote a favorable policy framework for valued library services to the community, establish and implement regional and national action agendas, and build advocacy skills in Uganda".

Sarah Kaddu, who also doubles as the IFLA IAP Trainer, spoke on advocacy and lobbying, the advocacy planning cycle, developing an advocacy plan to support the UN 2030 Agenda and identifying programmes to support SDGs among other issues.
Group discussion

The workshop was also attended by Ms. Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa, the Africa Advocacy Chair who spoke on the UN 2030 Agenda, Uganda’s vision 2040 and the Development Agenda, and the role of Libraries in the UN 2030 Development Agenda.

The Overall Workshop Coordinator Ms. Winny Nekesa-Akullo said the workshop was very practical. Winny noted that at the end of the three days, participants had drafted their Advocacy plans to share with their institutions and policy makers.

The Eastern Region Workshop was well attended and supported by both the academics and political leaders in Mbale. The librarians promised to advocate for their library programmes and the UN 200 Agenda and the SDGs.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Library and information professionals in Africa discussing the SDGs

By Justin Chisenga

A scan of the themes of conferences being organized by library and information professionals in Africa reveals a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in some cases on the African Union Agenda 2063.

SDGs. [Source: Sustainable Development Knowledge
In May 2017, the theme of the African Library and Information Associations (AFLIA)’s conference in Yaonde, Cameroon was on “Libraries in the Development Agenda: Repositioning African Libraries to Deliver on the Future We Want”. The Zimbabwe Library Association’s (ZimLA) annual conference, in June 2017, focused on “Libraries in the National Development Agenda: Repositioning Libraries for Sustainable Development”, and in Zambia, the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) annual conference in July 2017 was on the theme: “The Role of Information Institutions and Professionals in the Attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”.  The theme of the forthcoming XXIIIrd SCECSALConference, scheduled for April 2018 in Entebbe, Uganda is “Positioning Library and Information Services to Achieve Sustainable Development: Innovations and Partnerships” and that of the 4th IAALD Africa Conference, in May-June 2018, is “Agricultural Innovations, Information and Knowledge: Catalyzing the Attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063”.

It is almost two years since the World leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, popularly referred to as the 2030 Agenda; its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals; and the associated 169 targets spanning economic, environmental and social development. Since then, governments have been developing frameworks for multi-stakeholder dialogue to facilitate the integration of the SDGs into their national and sub-national development plans. Development organizations, civil society organizations, and even some organizations in the private sector, have also been aligning and mainstreaming the SDGs into their development policies, strategies and initiatives. Therefore, it is good news to see that library and information professionals in Africa are discussing SDGs and possibly developing strategies to contribute to the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Mark Maseko, National Information Officer from
the United Nations  Information Centre (UNIC), Zambia
  guiding the discussions on  SDGs by librarians at the
LIAZ 2017 Conference [Photo: Justin Chisenga]
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) took part in the pre- 2030 Agenda consultations and contributed to the process in several ways, including “advocating for the inclusion of access to information, safeguarding of cultural heritage, universal literacy, and access to information and communication technologies (ICT)” in the 2030 Agenda. IFLA also encouraged librarians and library associations to actively participate in the 2030 Agenda process, conducted capacity development activities targeting library and information professionals, and developed a toolkit, all with the aim of helping information professionals and their institutions to advocate for and show that they can drive progress across the entire 2030 Agenda.

IFLA also provided concrete evidence to show that information institutions, such as libraries, information centres, documentation centres and information professional associations, have a role to play in attaining the 2030 Agenda. This is documented in the booklet on Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries Contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The booklet highlights several examples from around the world showing how libraries and access to information contribute to improved outcomes across the 17 SDGs.

The current focus and discussions of the SDGs by library and information professionals in Africa is most welcome and should be encouraged. To effectively and efficiently contribute to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda, they should:

  1. Know the 2030 Agenda, its 17 SDGs, the 169 targets and the associated 232 individual indicators otherwise it will be difficult to directly and meaningfully contribute to the Agenda. Official documentation on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs is available on the United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform and the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website.
  2. Know their national governments’ development priorities and commitments to implement the 2030 Agenda. The “primary responsible for achieving the SDGs are the governments and the people they represent”. Therefore, contributing to attaining the SDGs, whether by organizations or groups of individuals, should not be done in insolation of the national development efforts. Working with national governments and national partners is key and one surest way to meaningfully contribute directly to attaining the 2030 Agenda. Getting to know the country’s development priorities and commitments to the 2030 Agenda is among the first steps towards contributing to the national development goals and ultimately to the 2030 Agenda.
  3. Define the responses to the 2030 Agenda and SDGs and document priorities, strategies and activities in the context of contributing to the national government’s efforts. All efforts and contributions to attaining the SDGs should be aligned to the priorities of the national government. Therefore, library and information institutions and professionals should have a written document articulating their strategies and monitoring mechanism for their planned efforts or contributions. Without any monitoring, it will be difficult to show evidence of any contributions to the national development agendas and the 2030 Agenda.

IFLA has already shown that library and Information institutions and professionals have a role to play in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. However, their contributions should be within the framework of national development agendas and priorities, which in most cases are aligned with the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs. Information institutions should define the services and products to be provided and establish strategic partnerships that will contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental.

AFLIA and SCECSAL, the two largest groupings of library and information professionals in Africa, should ensure that the outcomes of the various on-going discussions of the SDGs by library and information professionals in African sare widely shared and published online for easy access.