Bibliobus Project Helps Expand Literacy & Internet Access in Rural Madagascar

Since 1905, Rotarians have placed service to their communities and to the world above themselves. Local Rotary clubs like ours embody the idea of putting selflessness into action.

The Austin Cosmopolitan Rotary Club has partnered with Rotary Club Tsimbaroa in Antananarivo, Madagascar on an exciting literacy project which officially launched in 2024 and will conclude September 2025. 

The Bibliobus (library bus) is navigating through rural neighborhoods in and around Antananarivo (the capital city) to bring books and internet access to residents who don’t have a library. 

See where the bus has been, here (if the link doesn’t open in desktop, try mobile):

The Need

  • As found in our community assessment, residents in some areas have to walk up to 20 kilometers or 12+ miles to access a library
  • 75% of Malagasy people live on less than $1.90/day. For comparison only 1.2% of the U.S. population lives on less than $1.90/day. Source: The World Bank 
  •  85% of homes in Madagascar do not have access to electricity. Meaning, an inability to access the internet. Source: The World Bank 
  • More than 1.3 million children (60% of pre-primary school-aged children) are not enrolled in school contributing to deep education/literacy inequality from the start. Children enrolled in pre-primary school are twice as likely to to be on track to early literacy.  Source: Unicef 
  • The adult literacy rate  (ages 15-24) is 80.6% , an improvement in recent years yet more work needs to be done. Literacy = the ability to  both read and write with comprehension of a short simple statement. 

The Impact

The library will have a huge impact on children, parents and educators in regions it visits with the club expecting to serve 54,000 people who haven’t accessed the internet before.

In two years, the Bibliobus is estimated to serve: 

  • 144,000 library users
  • 72,000 internet users 
  • Two librarians will be present at all times to manage books and welcome young people and community members in the Bibliobus.

Following the project’s completion, the ownership, maintenance and continuation of the project will be transferred to the Bibliobus Association. The association is an independent organization composed of business leaders, community members from the bus’s participating service areas and anyone passionate about the project.

All Made Possible Through Partnership & The Rotary Foundation

The Bibliobus Project is a direct recipient of the Rotary Foundations Global Grants program and the generous contributions of members and area clubs. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this endeavor a reality and joining us in our mission to create healthier, more prosperous communities through the Bibliobus, particularly: 

  • Rotary District 5870
  • Rotary Club of Cedar Park-Leander
  • South Austin Rotary Club 
  • Rotary Club of Killeen Heights
  • Rotary Club of West Austin 
  • Rotary E-Club of Central Texas
  • Adana Guney Rotary Club (Turkey) 

If you’d like to continue helping our club make a local and global impact, please make a donation to our foundation. 

All donations are tax-deductible.