February 8, 2019

Dear Wonderful Niteo Donors,
2018 has been a year of hard work for Niteo, and we’re excited to report the result is greater potential to facilitate literacy in challenging contexts in new ways. In a pointed effort to fulfill our mandate, we continue to pursue ways to
make what we do sustainable and scalable.

One of the ongoing ‘adventures’ Niteo has involves shipping the books which stock the libraries and reading corners in Uganda and South Sudan. Thanks to the generous donations of the libraries in School District #23, book drives, and individual book donors, it is not difficult to fill a container. The Book Wranglers collect the books, wrangle them into boxes, pack the container (tightly!) and prepare all the documents for shipping. At this point, we’re pretty old hands at this part of the process.

Then begins the adventure – shipping the container to East Africa.
We use a freight expediter in Uganda, and we have help from Sam Turiya, Niteo’s in-country representative, which helps tremendously, but it’s still always a bit of a nail-biter when the container actually gets to East Africa. In 2017, the container was held in port (accruing port charges daily!) until we could sort out some sort of new tax levy. This year, the container
was held up by a sewing machine and the demand that we itemize every book in the container! Apparently, machines and books belong in different categories, and the Port Authority wanted to ensure that all the books in the container were truly non-taxable.

There’s always a bit of a flurry on this side of the ocean as we try to figure out what the Port Authority wants this time, and to figure out how to get it there. Fortunately, through the efforts of the expediter, and lots of back-and-
forth with Sam on the other side of the world, we were able to redeem the container without unpacking the books. We feel like it’s a huge win (and a big relief) when a container has been safely delivered into Sam’s care and the books can be distributed.

We continue to partner with the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) to distribute books to libraries and reading corners in South Sudan, and Sam oversees the distribution of the books to the libraries and reading corners in the eastern part of Uganda.

As is true of most non-profit agencies, Niteo Africa’s Board of Directors is a working board. Our Directors are hands on, collecting books, packing boxes, collecting donations, setting up for events, etc. What this means practically speaking, is that a full complement of Directors makes the work load lighter and adds immeasurably to the potential that Niteo has to fulfill its mandate.

We are very pleased to introduce two new Directors. Christopher Stevenson is the Head Librarian at the downtown Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library system. Trained in law & legislative librarianship, Chris has also cultivated his teaching and mentorship skillset at home and abroad. He’s a former film industry worker, and his first career was in building sets for feature films and television in Vancouver. Chris is interested in Maker space programming, literacy, community development and social justice issues.

Dana Martin is the Director of Advice and Service Effectiveness for the B.C & Yukon Region, Scotiabank. Dana has a Professional Financial Planning designation and has been in the Finance industry for 15 years. She is an avid traveler, visiting six continents and 35 countries for both tourism and volunteerism. Dana has previously experience as a director for international NGO’s and is passionate about creating a better world through literacy.
We are so pleased to have them join our Board. The 2019 Board of Directors can be found on our website – www.niteo.org/2019-board-of-directors

We are also thrilled to report that the micro-credential, Leaders in Literacy (which began as an idea back in 2015 when Karine and Dr. Susan Crichton were sitting in the garden of a restaurant in Gulu, Uganda writing a book) is ready to be piloted! Thanks to the incredible talent and generosity of a former Director, Jamie Henderson, the idea of developing a way to teach the individuals responsible for each library and reading corner how to foster literacy in the children and adults who frequent these spaces. We know from the review completed in 2017 that these places become a hub for the community in which they exist, and the micro-credential is the logical next step for Niteo Africa in fostering sustainability and scalability. The intention is to pilot the micro-credential to two different groups in Kelowna, and then organize offering it in Uganda and South Sudan through the 2019 Travel Team.

Speaking of which, if you would like to travel to Uganda this year with Karine and the Niteo Team, please let us know! We’d be happy to have you along, and it is always an enlightening experience to travel, and it is definitely a joy to see
in person what a difference books – and literacy – can make. Drop us a note at info@niteo.org if you’re interested.

It is so true to say that we couldn’t have done any of it without you. We are thankful for your generosity in joining with us. We encourage you to stay involved and the best way is to ensure we have your email address. Subscribe on the home page at www.niteo.org.

Did you know? You are all members of Niteo Africa Society! Through a minimum donation of $20 annually, you become a member of our community.

We invite you to the Stone Soup Gala, upcoming April 13, once again in the Kelowna Public Library, Main Branch. This amazing event features a foodie competition based on classic children’s stories, good wine, and better company. Our silent auction is always a popular part of the evening, and in the tradition of the Stone Soup story, all our guests take away a handmade pottery bowl as a memento of the evening. Tickets go quickly, so don’t miss out.

For the sake of the children,

Dr. Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg
Chair, Niteo Africa Society

P.S. Contributions to the silent auction are very welcome! Please contact Brianne (info@niteo.org) and she’ll
take care of the rest.

Share :