Canadian charity operating in Zimbabwe. Bringing Library Services to Rural Communities in Zimbabwe
We are a Canadian Charity
Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries raises money in Canada and the United States to support library services in Gwanda district in Matabeleland South province in Zimbabwe. Funds are transferred to our partner, Edward Ndlovu Memorial Trust (ENMT) in Zimbabwe. The ENMT carries out the projects on our behalf. ENCL monitors the projects and receives regular reports from ENMT. Funds raised from private donations have ranged from CAD$20,000-$40,000 each year over the past ten years. They represent approximately 20% of the budget of our partner.
ENCL was registered in 2015 as a not-for-profit corporation and gained charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency. It evolved from an informal voluntary network known as the Friends of Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library (FENML) which over a period of ten years raised funds in support of the Gwanda library services. As a Canadian registered charity, ENCL provides financial and activity reports on an annual basis to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Edward Ndlovu Memorial Trust - Our Partner
The Edward Ndlovu Memorial Trust (ENMT) was established to honour the memory of Edward Ndlovu. He was a trade unionist and nationalist politician who dedicated his life first to the achievement of independence in Zimbabwe and then to the development of Zimbabwean society and economy as a Member of Parliament for Gwanda and Deputy Minister for Energy and Water. Edward died in 1989 and was declared a national hero.
The trust was formed in 1990 at the instigation of his widow, Mary. It was registered with the High Court of Zimbabwe as a Trust and under the Department of Social Welfare as a Non-Government Organisation. Trustees decided that a project that could contribute extensively to the benefit of both individuals and communities in his former constitutency would be the most suitable way to remember Edward, and resolved to create a library.
Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library in Gwanda Town
Growth of the Library
A small library was established in 1992 in Gwanda town, operating from an unused classroom in a secondary school. In 1996, a rural service was added, based on the regular delivery and rotation of Book Boxes to primary schools.
By the year 2000 sufficient funds had been raised, from the Beit Trust, to begin the construction of a purpose-built library. In 2001, when the first phase was complete, operations moved to the new building. Afrika Groups of Sweden financed the purchase of a vehicle for the transport of the Book Boxes and sent a qualified graduate librarian to work in the library for two years.
In 2009 the second wing, dedicated specifically to children, was completed, with funds for construction provided by the British Embassy and furnishings paid for by the Canadian Ambassador’s Fund. It was opened by the British and Canadian ambassadors and the Zimbabwean Minister of Education. By this time funding was available to engage a full-time Zimbabwean graduate librarian.
The development and work of the Trust have been supported over the years by several donors from the international community. A large number of books have been sent by Book Aid International, a British charitable organisation. The Trust has also conducted workshops on libraries for teachers and community members and on the teaching of reading for teachers of the lower grades.
Several years ago, it introduced Study Circles for adults in rural communities. These were small groups aimed at acquiring information from the Book Boxes which would help them to work together to begin small businesses. Some of them have been very successful in spite of a deteriorating economic environment.
The work of the trust has focused on providing library services in the district of Gwanda, which Ndlovu represented in the Zimbabwean parliament. However, the ENMT is not limited to Gwanda or to library services. With greater capacity, work could be extended to other districts in the province of Matabeleland South. Library work was chosen as an activity that can benefit large numbers of individuals – children, adults, students, professionals – and impact whole communities.
Mary Krug Ndlovu - The Founder of the Library
The Edward Ndlovu Memorial Trust was established by the initiative of Mary Krug Ndlovu, a Canadian who married Edward Ndlovu and lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe most of her adult life.
Mary Krug Ndlovu, wife of the late Edward Ndlovu, receiving an alumni award from the University College of the University of Toronto in recognition of work establishing libraries in Zimbabwe
Mary travelled to Zambia in 1966 to work as a teacher, under the auspices of CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas). While in Zambia, she married Edward Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean in exile. She continued to teach in secondary schools and at the University of Zambia in the Faculty of Education.
When Zimbabwean Independence was achieved in 1980, Mary and Edward moved to Bulawayo, in south-western Zimbabwe. She worked there initially in secondary school teaching and teacher education, and from 1992 for the Legal Resources Foundation, developing a paralegal training programme, conducting human-rights training for police and prison officers, and legal workshops for other NGOs, all while completing a law degree by correspondence. Since 2003 Mary has worked independently as a trainer, editor and writer.
Edward became a Member of Parliament in 1980, and subsequently a Deputy Minister, but died at a relatively young age in 1989. Mary established the Edward Ndlovu Library in 1992 in his memory, thereby employing local people and promoting literacy in a community with little access to books or resource materials. In honour of her leadership, she received an Old Girls Life Achievement Award from Havergal College in 2004, and a University College, University of Toronto Alumni Award in 2015. In 2016 she relocated to Canada, but continues to visit Zimbabwe and the library as often as possible.