Library and Community Resource Center

  • April, 2016 April, 2016
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  • November, 2014 November, 2014
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  • December, 2013 December, 2013
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  • July, 2013 July, 2013
  • July, 2013 July, 2013
  • LCRC Site, Summer 2011 LCRC Site, Summer 2011

Step back in time to see the evolution of the LCRC
(left to right shows most recent to earliest)
Pictures courtesy of Robert Mitchell, Brandi Smith and UMABU

In the summer of 2011, TDS and its Tanzanian partner organization, Umoja wa Maendeleo ya Bukwaya (UMABU), collaborated with the Chicago chapter of Architecture for Humanity to design a Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC). The LCRC, to be built on the grounds of Nyegina Secondary School, is to be a community space—an area where children, youth and adults can come together and read, develop computer skills, and increase their personal and professional knowledge by taking advantage of literacy materials and Internet access.


Architecture for Humanity-Chicago volunteers went on two service trips to meet with local leaders, school officials and community residents to discuss the plans for the LCRC. Local opinions relating to the design and functionality of the library have been integrated into the design of the LCRC. A steering committee of local school officials and community members has been created to guide development of the library programming, as well as advise on design issues.

The LCRC is a state of the art facility in more than its physical design. Its grounding in local community participation to shape its design, its leveraging of the management capacity of the Nyegina Secondary School, and its integration of primary and secondary education with continuing adult education is pioneering a new way to develop libraries as economic development tools for Tanzania and other sub-Saharan countries.

Nyegina Library Build 2013


Local laborers broke ground on Phase 1 of the LCRC in June 2013. Phase 1 will house the library books stacks and a teacher enhancement center. The library will have inside and outside areas for quiet reading and reflection, and for small group reading circles (e.g., primary school class groups or adult literacy groups). The teacher enhancement center will be a place where local teachers can benefit from additional teacher training and access pedagogical materials to enhance their classroom instruction and professional development, including via Internet connections.

Initial construction labor and materials have been funded through two large-scale fundraising campaigns. The 2012 Kili Climb, led by Madaraka Nyerere, and the Pour the Floor Holiday Campaign raised more than $60,000 (96.8 million Tanzanian shillings (Tsh)) and made it possible for our community-based partner, UMABU, to hire construction professionals to oversee and construct what is to become one of Mara Region’s few public libraries.

IMG_1418A group of 10 students from Northern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, 7 volunteers and TDS President Dr. Kurt Thurmaier joined local workers and community volunteers this July (2013) to help build Phase 1 of the LCRC project. While there, the LCRC went from a sectioned-off area of dirt and foundation walls to an actual concrete floor. Students and volunteers arrived right as local craftsman were hauling stones and boulders to create the foundation. The huge rocks are laid a few feet under the planned level of the floor. They are placed as evenly as possible and any cracks and crevices are filled with dirt. In the end, this creates a durable foundation and allows for a smooth application of cement on top.


Pouring the floor was a community effort that involved craftsman, teachers, students and other residents from Nyegina and the surrounding villages. Students and volunteers, in addition to hauling stones and mixing cement, also helped to pour it onto the carefully laid stone “floor” just before their departure.

 Unveiling of the Cornerstone

IMG_1058A Dedication Ceremony to celebrate the build’s commencement and the laying of the cornerstone was held on July 17, 2013. Officiated by Diocese of Musoma Bishop Michael Msonganzila, the ceremony included government officials, community leaders, TDS volunteers, NIU students, teachers, local students and residents from area villages. All enjoyed the music and stirring speeches that called for teamwork, a dedication to study and community advancement and the strengthening of ties, both at home and abroad. Madaraka Nyerere, leader of the 2012 Kili Climb and son of Tanzania’s first president Mwalimu (teacher) Julius Nyerere, and TDS president Kurt Thurmaier delivered inspiring speeches and led the procession down to the site where Madaraka cut the official LCRC ribbon and drew back the curtain to unveil the official cornerstone of the LCRC. Students and volunteers are all now back in the USA but building goes on, and at an astonishing pace!

Kidogo, Kidogo…

The Library and Community Resource Center is rising from the ground but our work is not yet done. Completion of the LCRC will require much more from us all if Nyegina and its neighboring villages are to get their library. This is where you, our donors and volunteers, come in. Please donate and help build the LCRC.

Asante sana.

Thank you very much.

How Can You Help?


  • Contribute as generously as you can.
  • Share the Kidogo, Kidogo video with friends and family and ask them to contribute to TDS in lieu of a holiday gift.
  • Accompany us on our annual work-study trip to Tanzania. Check out the program description for more details.
  • Host a rice and beans dinner at your local church, rotary or other social club. We have recipes.
  • Have a yard sale and donate the proceeds to TDS.
  • Use goodsearch to search the internet and designate Tanzania Development Support as the recipient. Each web search donates a few pennies to TDS. It adds up!
  • Register a card to benefit TDS when you shop for groceries at Schnuck’s.


For more information about how you can become involved contact Kurt Thurmaier at In Wisconsin, contact board member Robert Mitchell at

*Additional photos courtesy of Brandi Smith and Kurt Thurmaier. LCRC 3D drawing courtesy of Architecture for Humanity-Chicago