On Monday, April 25, 2022, the US-based NGO African Library Project awarded its highest honor, the 2022 Compassion in Action Awards to Jessy Mphunda and Nancy Mpenkansambo. The announcement was made at the African Library Project’s Virtual Partner Summit by Founder,Chris Bradshaw in recognition of the extraordinary work the two librarians have done to help start libraries in Malawian schools. 

Beginning in 2012 as a librarian at the Malawi Institute of Education, Jessy Mphunda initiated a partnership with the African Library Project. She established a children’s library at MIE and led the efforts to start 102 school libraries in partnership with the African Library Project. When she changed jobs to work with the University of Malawi’s library, she again initiated a partnership with the African Library Project on behalf of the university and to date has started another 90 school libraries including training the teacher librarians. She has since obtained her Masters in Archives and Records Management at the University of Botswana. Upon receipt of the prestigious honor, Ms. Mphunda said, “I feel so humbled to have my efforts recognized. I appreciate all of you for giving me the platform to become a useful citizen to my country.”

Librarian Nancy Mpekansambo led the University of Malawi’s efforts to establish 44 libraries while Jessy was getting her Masters in Botswana. She recruits and vets library applicant schools, trains teacher librarians and manages the process of delivering books sent from the African Library Project. She helped lead a 2021 measurement and evaluation effort of 125 schools in Malawi. When presenting the award, Founder Chris Bradshaw stated, “Nancy Mpenkansambo is incredibly thorough, professional, gracious and always exceeds expectations.”

The African Library Project has helped start or improve 3,483 libraries in 13 African countries since 2004 in partnership with local NGOs or governments. In Malawi, the organization has started 587 libraries in partnership with the University of Malawi, DAPP, the Malawi Institute of Education and the Wungwero Book Foundation. The Compassion in Action Award is given annually to individuals or organizations who demonstrate an exceptional contribution to African literacy through library development.

For more information, please contact Chris Bradshaw at chris@africanlibraryproject.org.