Changing Our World
Edited by Zachary D. Kaufman
Chapter 4: Social entrepreneurship in a post-genocide society: Building Rwanda's first public library, the Kigali Public Library
4. Social entrepreneurship in a post-genocide society: Building Rwanda’s first public library, the Kigali Public Library Zachary D. Kaufman The Kigali Public Library (KPL) is Rwanda’s first-ever national library that is open to all in a country that less than a generation ago experienced one of the worst atrocities in history. The Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga (RCKV) in Rwanda initiated the campaign to construct and outfit the KPL, which has been supported by the American Friends of the Kigali Public Library (AFKPL) in the United States and other individuals and organizations around the world. After several years of fundraising and logistical coordination, the KPL opened on April 16, 2012.1 The KPL will soon incorporate even more resources, will require ongoing maintenance, and may even expand. This chapter begins by providing background information about the 1994 Rwandan genocide and by identifying one of many related problems – namely media access – that demands a response. The chapter then focuses on how that problem became the inspiration for building the KPL. Next, the chapter explores the KPL’s staffing, organizational design, fundraising, communication, and management and sustainability challenges. The chapter then considers some potential unintended consequences of the KPL. In conclusion the chapter reflects on the past, present, and future of the KPL. BACKGROUND: THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE Rwanda, about the size of Maryland and located in the Great Lakes region of Africa, is the most densely populated country on the continent.2 In July 2011, Rwanda had an estimated population of 11.4 million people.3 For decades,...
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