Tamale has a population of over 350 000 residents. Still there is only one state owned library, which serves the whole city. There are a few other private owned libraries, but they cannot meet the reading needs of the fast growing population in the city. It is against this background that BIBIR established a library to compliment the effort of the Ghanaian government in providing library services. The BIBIR library is mainly aimed at pupils and students from a poor background, but serves the general public as well. The goal of this project is to raise the educational standards through reading. It is also geared towards the provision of quality education, which in turn will bring about an improved living standard of the people of Ghana, particularly the people in the Northern Region and the city of Tamale.
Over time the BIBIR library has become a popular study-space for people who cannot buy textbooks, storybooks, and other reading materials. The library also provides internet services for research. First time users of the library will be given an orientation consisting of internet service tutorials, registration procedures and basic rules.
Many villages and city suburbs are not able to receive library services, simply because of the distance to existing libraries or the cost of establishing new ones. Providing a mobile library van with books and a reading area could solve this problem. At this moment BIBIR does not have the funds to take on this project, but we have started to take books to Junior High Schools which don't have access to the needed reading materials. Due to high demand, we have established a rotation system, which means that schools get the books for a particular time before they handed over to the next school.
Distribution of school materials
BIBIR constantly tries to provide as many children as possible with the education they need. One way to enhance the number of pupils attending school is by providing the necessary materials, like exercise books, pencils and pens, school uniforms, and school bags.
Renovation of school buildings
Many of the schoolbuildings in the Northern Region are in bad condition. BIBIR renovates schoolbuildings to make sure the students can learn in a suitable environment.
BIBIR noticed that there was a problem with High School dropouts who weren’t able to pass their final exams.
BIBIR initiated a program of remedial classes to tutor children and help them pass their examinations. This program proved to be very successful as 80-90% of the tutored children ended up passing the exams organized and supervised by the West Africa Examination Councils which are written in September/October each year.
Supporting basic education in communities
School children in the Savelugu-Nanton District face many challenges that are common in Northern villages of Ghana. A report on the District by journalist Joseph Ziem stated problems like students lacking understanding of simple grade school concepts, incomplete coverage of the school syllabus, lack of parental supervision, poor attitudes of local teachers towards their work, low income for teachers, and poor learning and teaching conditions. Therefore, pupils and even teachers were often found to be absent from school.
BIBIR brought together community members in a workshop called 'Supporting Basic Education in The Communities of Northern Ghana". The workshop, as well as school materials that were later distributed to the students, were funded by the Intervida, a partner NGO. In addition, 260 pupils were registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme, and others had their insurance renewed through BIBIR.
Students were also provided with essentials such as sandals, exercise books, school bags, and other learning materials for the classroom in order to create a positive attitude towards learning.