Nation Media Group Foundation, an offshoot of Nation Media Group(NMG), is set to launch a public library in Ngong town, Kajiado County, in the next three months, according to Clifford Machoka, head of external affairs at NMG.
The bid to build a library is driven by the goal of fostering collaboration in education and literacy efforts. Its primary objective is to improve public access to information resources by establishing community libraries in 14 districts that currently lack such facilities.
Speaking at a public engagement event in Ngong, Mr Machoka said the library project is a pilot initiative that aims to be sustainable, with a focus on environmental sustainability and the use of green energy.
"As we prepare to launch this project in the next three months, we envision that it will have a meaningful impact and contribute to climate change initiatives in Ngong. Education and literacy are important to us, as demonstrated by our efforts across Kenya, including book donations and support for schools through our newspapers. Now, for the first time, NMG is expanding its education and literacy programme by partnering with KNLS and the local community to build a library," said Mr Machoka.
This comes after Nation Media Group (NMG) and Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 18 to establish satellite container libraries across the country.
The partnership aims to create a framework for collaboration in education and literacy initiatives, with the primary objective of improving public access to information resources through the establishment of community libraries in 14 counties that currently lack public libraries.
Mr Machoka added that the launch of the library will address the five critical areas of education and literacy, environment, climate change, health and community development.
"We are delighted to have received the support of the community, local leaders, the District Commissioner and the MCA and MP for the area. The library will not only help the children but also the senior citizens and we plan to have community centres where we will also run a mentorship programme and coaching," said Mr Machoka.
According to Philomena Mwirigi, Deputy Director of Technical Services at the Kenya National Library, they have successfully established libraries in 33 counties with a total of 64 branches.
However, she noted that there are still fourteen counties without libraries, adding that they are taking action by providing 10,000 books at Ngong Library.
"Our intention is to implement various programmes that will benefit not only the young but also the elderly, by offering programmes that cater to both age groups, we want to encourage the elderly to participate in meaningful activities instead of engaging in unproductive or harmful behaviours," said Ms Mwirigi.
Ms Mwirigi further noted that the library will encompass a range of programmes, starting with engaging the community in storytelling workshops that empower locals to create their own narratives. It will also help young people develop their talents and offer computer literacy classes to improve their computer skills.
"This library is proving to be very beneficial to the people of Ngong and we strongly encourage them to take advantage of it. We also plan to extend our services to other districts that have not yet benefited from our facility," said Ms Mwirigi.
Onesmus Ngogoyo, the area MP, said during the public participation that the move to build a library is a pioneering effort in Kajiado County that will truly go a long way in disseminating information while providing invaluable support to students, the elderly and young people. Previously unused land has been earmarked for the construction of this library.
"Through public participation, we have received unanimous support with no objections. As a result, we expect construction to begin soon. This development will greatly benefit students at all levels of education, from primary and secondary schools to tertiary institutions, especially considering the large number of university students residing in this region," said Mr Ngogoyo.