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Accra Declaration {draft}

 
 

Submitted to: Sabre Foundation, USA
By: William E. Harris/CREDO, Liberia

Cognizant of the low percentage of books in Africa and its adverse effect on the continent's various educational and human resource development programs;

Realizing that the greatest impact of Africa's book famine is felt by school-attending pupils at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels;

Considering that the book-to-student ratio of the majority of said pupils and associated staff is extremely low;

And in recognition of the escalating need for private and public institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations, governments and the international donor community to collaborate for the amelioration of "Africa's book famine" through standards and sustained initiatives;

And further realizing that the good intent of said entities is in most instances marred by the donation of a substantial quantity of irrelevant and obsolete books whose usage do not impact positively on end users;

Aware that the fragmentation of the book donation program for Africa and its accompanying lack of sustainable elements at the international, national and local levels serve to exacerbate the problem;

Alluding to the fact that Africa's current socio-economic situation lends a significantly low level of support to the development of local publishing industries, textbook writing and development and library development and facilitation;

Acknowledging the acute need for beneficiaries of Africa's book donation program to improve their reading skills through reading enhancement programs, with the provision to access indigenous reading materials through financial grants;

Granted that the acquisition and application of modern information technological skills in discharging the functions of book distributors in Africa in general, and Sabre members in particular, would amount to the ultimate advantage of donors, their counterparts and beneficiaries alike;

And realizing that failure on the part of Sabre Foundation and its collaborating organizations to consolidate and accelerate their efforts in bringing redress to the myriad ills of Africa's book distribution program would extrapolate the aforementioned problems;

It is hereby unanimously declared by representatives of Sabre Foundation, its various African partners and related book development and distribution entities assembled in Accra, Ghana, from the 5th to 11th of January 2002 under the theme: "Dialogue of African Partners: Book Programs in the New Century," that henceforth, the following be adopted and implemented accordingly:

I. That a consortium of Sabre African members be established.

II. That guidelines and policies intended to curb the unacceptable practice of book dumping on Africa be developed, widely circulated and applied with the ultimate aim of improving relevance and quality of books donated to Africa.

III. That local book developers and publishing programs be encouraged. Moreover, that reading enhancement and library improvement programs be initiated and indigenous books obtained through cross subsidization.

IV. That the capacity of Sabre African members to effectively use electronic information systems be improved through technical assistance programs under the umbrella of Sabre Foundation, preferably manifested in a medium term plan of the Sabre Association of Africa Members.

V. That national and international resource mobilization schemes be conducted by Sabre and its African affiliates, coupled with the development and adoption of standardized program evaluation and reporting formats vis--vis Sabre Foundation book distribution program for Africa.

VI. That in order to facilitate an effective individualized book distribution plan for Sabre African initiatives, a three-year book donation memorandum of understanding be adopted by Sabre and its respective African partners.

DONE THIS 11TH DAY OF JANUARY 2002,
IN THE CITY OF ACCRA, REPUBLIC OF GHANA
WEST AFRICA

Signed:

Ms. Tania Vitvitsky Executive Director, Sabre Foundation USA Mr. Kenneth G. Bartels President, Sabre Foundation USA

ATTESTED: (Names and Particulars of Representatives of Participating Organizations)

NOTE: (Written and presented by Mr. William E. Harris, CREDO, Liberia)