Nyamata — On a crisp but balmy morning members of the faculty and staff at Simmons College journeyed to the Maranyundo Girls School. Their objective: assist teaching and learning.
They were successful.
“We were extremely impressed with the students,” said Lisa Hussey, Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. “They students are very eager to learn.”
Her colleague, Nanette Veilleux, professor of computer science and informatics, nodded in agreement. “They are very motivated.”
An Ongoing Partnership: A Series of Accomplishments
The Maranyundo Girls School hosted a team from Simmons College to focus on organizing the library collection, strengthening STEM education, introducing additional extra-curricular activities and general institutional consulting. The team was on site for nearly a month, interacting directly with Maranyundo teachers and students daily.
“We were successful because we focused on our goals and got to work,” Veilleux said. “MGS provides excellent class instruction.”
The team developed a method for categorizing the current library collect. The categorizing books using based on topic and color tape. The team also set aside a specific section for best sellers, poetry and fiction. Professor Hussey met with the library assistants and trained them in the organization system that included having the assistants review the shelves to find books out of place and re-shelve books. The assistants learned how to process new books with the colors and letters for the spine. Additionally, students learned how to do minor repairs to books with tape and to reinforce the spine of textbooks using a protective film.
Students also created art pieces to for the library, including paper sculptures created from books unable to be repaired. The team also led a student workshop in Zine create to support creative writing and art.
Over the course of their time at MGS, the team noticed a difference. More students were using the library, sitting at tables and reading fiction.
“The idea is to encourage browsing,” Veilleux said.
In addition to cataloguing, the team also created a computer science curriculum through out of class projects. They team also trained students on computers and ways to be IT support. The team met with the computer science teachers to train on C++, Java and other programming languages.
The team returned to Boston in August 2018.
“We loved our time at Maranyundo and can see the progress,” Hussey said. “It was very rewarding.”