ICT-based local language literacy lessons for children

Lubuto Library Partners, Zambia

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Children using laptop computers in the library.
Orphans and vulnerable children learn literacy skills in mother tongue using computer-based exercises developed by Lubuto Library Project.


The Fountain of Hope Lubuto Library in Lusaka serves vulnerable children, providing a safe place where orphans can find shelter and support. Librarians read aloud to the children, but they realized that reading aloud, although valuable, would not teach the children to read and write. This realization, coupled with education research that has shown that children who learn to read in mother tongue become more confident learners, led to creation of the OLPC Zambian Language Literacy Programming Project and the launch of LubutoLiteracy.

The innovative PROJECT

With support from EIFL-PLIP in 2010, Lubuto Library Partners brought international expertise, local knowledge and technology together to develop computer programming that would teach children literacy in their own languages. They used the open source software, Etoys, to develop 100 literacy lessons in seven local Zambian languages, and have installed the lessons on One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computers for use in Lubuto libraries and in schools. The lessons follow the government education curriculum. They are fun, with lively drawings and the children learn through ‘playing’ on the OLPC computers.


May 2010 - April 2011.

achievements and Impact

Vulnerable children are learning literacy skills in mother-tongue through Lubuto Library Partners' computer-based reading lessons in the major Zambian languages.   Zambia’s education ministry, through the Zambia Library Service, is partnering with Lubuto Library Partners to extend Lubuto Library Project services in other parts of Zambia.

follow the project's progress

In 2013, USAID awarded the Lubuto Library Project an All Children Reading grant to further evaluate, refine and disseminate the lessons.

In February 2015, Lubuto Library Partners announced that the mother tongue literacy lessons originally created and piloted with support from EIFL-PLIP were to be handed over to the Zambian Government for distribution across the country.

Additional resources

Read a two-page case study about the project.

More libraries supporting education

Read about  more innovative public library services supporting education of children and adults. PLIP-EDUCATION

Because of this project I learned to use computers. I have been teaching for a long time (13 years) but when we were making these lessons I learnt a lot about how to teach. We had to change the lesson content from the Zambian curriculum to make it easy for the children to understand.
Betty Chocha, teacher at Kalingalinga Basic School in Lusaka