Students and professionals celebrate the reopening of public library in Dondo

UNDP Recovery Facility rehabilitated the Dondo Municipal Library following cyclone destruction, and modernized it technologically with new equipments.

July 8, 2021

Dondo Municipal Library after rehabilitation. Photo by GREPOC/Délcio Mucombo

Beira – After two years being dysfunctional and closed, the Dondo Municipal Library is reopened for the citizens, featuring more resilient infrastructure, new technological equipment and durable furniture. The reopening ceremony took place on 02 July 2021, led by the president of the Municipal Council of Dondo, HE Manuel Virade Chaparica.

The library revitalization project was prepared and managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in coordination with the Government’s Post-Cyclones Reconstruction Cabinet (GREPOC), financed by the Mozambique Recovery Facility* in MZN 9.3 million (approximately USD 146 thousand), having Minc Constructora as the contractor, and Dondo Municipal Library as the direct beneficiary.  

Teacher Arlista Sebo Inacio Bonde. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

“After cyclone Idai, students stopped coming to the Library because the building was seriously damaged and all the material was destroyed. At first, they felt a lot for having lost a place to study and do consultations. I mobilized and sensitized them to explain that education can change a child's life condition and they can still have a profession,” said Arlista Sebo Inacio Bonde, a teacher for 12 years and director of the Josina Machel Dondo Primary School.

“COVID-19 brought us a new challenge. A large number of students began to stay outside the closed library, to browse the internet that is installed and which, in a way, helped them to continue their studies from the online classes they were submitted to, as they were unable to afford it at home. In this sense, the library plays a decisive role in the culture and learning of these individuals. It is an added value now that the conditions were also created to comply with the sanitary protocol to tackle COVID-19. The revitalized garden is secured with fence walls and is a pleasant space outdoors, where they can sit and comply with the social distancing”, concluded Bonde.

In 2020, before the start of the reconstruction and already during COVID-19 pandemic, the building was inoperative. Still, students flocked outside the premises to use the free Wi-Fi internet service. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

Resilience elements are now incorporated into the new and pre-existing structures to withstand future disasters, particularly through reinforced structures and improved roof connection and attachment techniques. Likewise, with the revisions that have been carried out to the electrical, water and sewage system, the Library will be able to return to its regular operations under the health prevention measures.

The main building gained a new coverage area of ​​approximately 114.80m², and root constructions were made: an entrance porch with access by ramp and stairs, a guardhouse, a fence wall with gates, and public benches – everything in accordance with the current building standards and regulations in Mozambique.

In view to technological modernization, the project also delivered and installed nine computer kits (display, CPU, external HD, accessories), three laptops, three printers, air conditioning and various furniture (tables, chairs and shelves) to the Municipal Library of Dondo. The objective is to offer comprehensive assistance so that it becomes an improved, modern and functional public space, where students and researchers can enjoy it for study and peer learning.

Handover and use of equipment and furniture at the Dondo Municipal Library. Photos by UNDP/Brenda Hada

“Here now there are already many books and we need them. I live near here and intend to come here because I want to learn more. I'll come do my homework and I'll enjoy the computer which we didn't have before, the wifi and the books. Here there was water dropping from the ceiling and it was precarious”, recalled Abel Alface Cheren, 18, a student at Escola Secundária do Dondo.

Student Abel Alface Cheren in Dondo Library. Photos by GREPOC

Library Reopening Ceremony

Library reopening ceremony. Photos by UNDP/Brenda Hada

The president of the Municipal Council of Dondo, HE Manuel Virade Chaparica, stressed that “a profound rehabilitation of the public library was made; this is an important infrastructure for the students’ learning. (...) We need percipient people for this library to last for a long time. I am assigning the Education Department to select the best employees that we have in the Municipality of Dondo so that they can fill this role carefully”.

Chaparica convened school principals to hold lectures and visits to the Library in order to encourage more students to attend. “We see the interior of the library with high-ending equipment and all the conditions created so that the child, the youths, the student can feel comfortable and learn all kinds of subjects. I believe that this library will bring many users not only from the city of Dondo, but also from Beira”, he concluded.

Students at the yard in Dondo Municipal Library. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

On behalf of UNDP, Ghulam Sherani, programme manager of Mozambique Recovery Facility (MRF), highlighted that “this building is not just a place which has been rehabilitated. It is a center of research and education that can shape the future of this town and region and support education and learning to go on”.

Sherani mentioned that the UNDP MRF programme, since its inception in August 2019, assisted about 156,000 vulnerable families in Sofala, Manica and Cabo Delgado provinces in the most cyclone-affected areas.

The district of Dondo has been one of the main focuses of UNDP Recovery Facility where approximately 10,400 families received livelihood assistance, and several constructions are underway: two markets (one already opened); 680 houses with latrines; and two primary schools, each one with two blocks and sanitation.

The executive director of GREPOC, Luis Paulo Mandlate, said that “education is one of the pillars for the development of any country. Although this infrastructure may seem small, its value in what it can produce for people of tomorrow is quite large. We have to ensure that this material, which belongs to all of us, is used by as many people as possible for many years.”

Dondo Municipal Library inaugurated. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

*The Mozambique Recovery Facility

Shortly after the cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique in 2019, UNDP set up the Mozambique Recovery Facility (MRF) – a five-year programme in a multi-partner basket fund supported by UNDP core resources, the European Union, Canada, China, India, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway. The MRF deploys both short and long-term recovery activities in cyclone-affected provinces, while it also aims to address underlying vulnerabilities and to build resilience to future disasters. It has three important pillars: (1) help the communities rebuild their livelihoods, especially women and vulnerable groups; (2) rebuild housing and community infrastructure; and (3) develop national capacities and systems to plan and implement the recovery and resilience program.