Mwika Development Trust Fund (MWIDEFU)

S p a r k D e v e l o p m e n t

Mwika Library and Books Project August 24, 2011


In December 2006, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania Northern Diocese handed over a century old church building that was under-utilized to MWIDEFU to be used as a Community Library.

In 2007, with a grant of $5,000 received from the Diplomatic Spouses’ Group (DSG) of Dar es Salaam, MWIDEFU furnished the empty hall.

Initial stock of books were obtained from book purchases, individual donations, and donations from the World Bank Book Project, a service organization by spouses of World Bank staff which channels books donated by schools and libraries to developing countries. Since its inception 50 some years ago, it has shipped over three million books. April and Michael Patillo, volunteers from the CES Partnership, trained two librarians and helped to set up the library.

Anne Waters of the World Bank Book Project dropped by in 2008 as the Library was taking shape.

On September 28, 2008, a colourful ceremony officiated by Dr. Frederik Shoo, Assistant to the Bishop of the Northern Diocese, marked the opening of the Library. The event was covered in the Daily News, a national newspaper in Tanzania.

The Library in use

Swahili books

Greater share of the books are in English. It has a small but growing collection of Swahili books with contributions from Norwood School (of Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.). It also carries newspapers in English and Swahili, none of which are readily available in rural areas.

The Library has about 5,000 books and a seating capacity of 50, including a children’s corner. Readers span from primary school children to University students, professors and local farmers. Number of readers who visit the library fluctuate widely. There have been some exceptional days when the number exceeded 100.


Many people in Mwika have not stepped out beyond Kilimanjaro borders. MWIDEFU, in its attempt to open the eyes of the villagers, it has brought the world to Mwika with audio-visual equipment funded by the Diplomatic Spouses Group (DSG) of Dar es Salaam and a collection of some 40 educational DVDs and feature films. First showing of the DVD featured Ten Commandments, a story familiar to the villagers, therefore easy to follow despite the language barrier.


With cooperation from all 24 primary and 5 secondary schools, the University campus, and the Community Library in Mwika, MWIDEFU obtained free shipment of 30,000 books from the World Bank Book Project.  The books arrived in Mwika in July 2010 and were kept in temporary storage till they were collected by individual schools/institutions who were the intended beneficiaries.

Different modes of collecting books

Modes of transport to the final beneficiary ranged from a tractor, to wheelbarrows, women’s head-power, pickups, etc.

Arrival of the books coinciding with the visitation to Mwika by two Librarians from Norwood School, Sue Gail Spring and Sandi Hannibal, provided a perfect setting for further training for Mwika Librarians, Ebenezer Shao and Anence Kawiche.

Norwood librarians – Sue Gail Spring and Sandi Hannibal in Mwika

Each school received books from the World Bank Book Project, depending on their level and the size of school enrollment. Since then, Mwika has witnessed mushrooming of school libraries at primary and secondary level.

Mwika Primary School                   Maring’a Chini Primary School            Mwika Secondary School

Many partnerships made this initiative successful:

  • Schools and libraries in Washington DC donated books to the World Bank Book Project;
  • the World Bank Book Project shipped the books to Tanzania at no cost to the beneficiaries;
  • CES partnership provided initial assistance to set up the Library and train the newly recruited librarians;
  • Norwood School (in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.) provided additional books, provided funds for purchasing books in Swahili, and sent its two Liberians to provide further training to Mwika librarians;
  • Lutheran church provided temporary storage space for the books;
  • Schools, university, and the Library collected their books from the temporary storage;
  • Schools, most of which did not have a library, are turning unused rooms into libraries;
  • MWIDEFU handled the cost and logistics of clearing the books, transporting them from Dar es Salaam to Mwika, and oversaw their distribution to schools.

Mwika Library Projects have received generous support from

the Lutheran Church of Tanzania Northern Diocese
the World Bank Book Project
the Diplomatic Spouses Group and AFRITAC-IMF of Dar es Salaam
Rotary Clubs of Shoreline Breakfast and Chico
Norwood School (Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.)
Mwika community members and their friends and family.


One Response to “Mwika Library and Books Project”

  1. […] Project for Women Dairy Projects Mwika Environment Projects Eye Clinic Library & Books Project  Market […]

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