As SolarSPELL’s Library Specialist, it was truly the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to visit the amazing Peace Corps staff, volunteers, and community members in Comoros. I had the chance to complete several tasks on this trip: collect feedback about our East Africa collection, provide teachers and volunteers with our updated library version, and lead a segment on information literacy and copyright during our two-day training. Before we even got to do the training, the team was able to venture out to various communities on the main island to visit those who have been using the SolarSPELL for the past few months.
On the third day of our trip, the team visited Danielle, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and Younoussf, her teacher counterpart, who have been using the SolarSPELL since our training in September 2019!
Danielle gathered some of her best students and had them connect to the SolarSPELL digital library. We perused the educational content with them and we were able to get a unique viewpoint of how it’s being used in Danielle’s classes. In addition to updating the library collection with French-language content, we were able to add Danielle’s textbooks that she created with another Peace Corps volunteer. The textbooks were made with their students in mind and are in their local language. Danielle was quite excited when we showed her that the textbooks she had co-created, had already been added to this, the newest version of the SolarSPELL library!
The SolarSPELL team also had the pleasure of visiting the American Corner at the University of Comoros in Moroni. The American Corner holds an impressive library, ten computers, and plenty of workspaces for students to use for studying. When we arrived, Miftah (a Peace Corps Local Language and Culture Expert) was teaching a class with the SolarSPELL. We were greeted by Salim, the American Corner Coordinator and his incredible American Corner volunteer, Abdoulatif. We interviewed Abdoulatif, Salim, and Miftah to receive invaluable feedback on the SolarSPELL digital library and how it is being utilized in this unique learning center! We are grateful to the American Corner and the amazing staff for facilitating use of SolarSPELL.
Overall, the time we spent in Comoros was amazing and we learned a lot. The feedback we received from our SolarSPELL champions in the field will allow us to improve the library so we can bring a better version to them the next time we visit!