Ghana Library Authority wins UN award

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Mr Hayford Siaw, Executive Director of the GhLA, displaying the award
Mr Hayford Siaw, Executive Director of the GhLA, displaying the award

The Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) has won an international award for innovation and digital transformation.

The “Fostering Innovation to deliver inclusive and equitable services for digital transformation” award is part of the 2021 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA).

The award is in recognition of the GhLA’s work in using its hands-on mobile ICT classes project to drive inclusive and equitable technology education in Ghana.

For winning in that category, the GhLA was presented with a memento and a citation at a colourful ceremony held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The UNPSA is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service.

It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide.

First-ever

The GhLA is the first public sector institution to win the award for Ghana.

The GhLA initiative was among 10 initiatives by public institutions from around the world that were recognised for the 2021 UNPSA.

The award ceremony was co-organised by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the government of the UAE.

The awards ceremony was held on the theme, “Innovating the future public service: New government models for a new era to reach the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic from Dubai, the Executive Director of the GhLA, Mr Hayford Siaw, who was excited about the award observed that ICT had become one of the important areas to invest in, “and recognising its worth, we at the Ghana Library Authority are meeting the needs of the less privileged learners by taking digitisation to their doorstep”.

He said the GhLA won the award because of the significant impact and success of the deployment of ICT in learning among beneficiaries of the “Mobile ICT project” introduced by the authority.

“The Ghana Library Authority has been working to promote digital literacy outside the brick-and-mortar environment; hence we are not limiting ourselves to only the physical library space but rather aiming to connect Ghanaians to knowledge resources through every possible means. Hands-on mobile ICT class is one of such”, Mr Siaw emphasised.

Giving a background to the project, Mr Siaw said initially the GhLA mobile vans used to carry books to schools and communities for use until 2019 when the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, officially opened the Year of Reading with the handing over of 100 laptop computers to the GhLA by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC).

“So, we used those 100 laptops to commence this mobile library project with the existing 10 vans for the then 10 regions,” he explained, adding that the project was basically targeting final year students in senior high schools.

Improvement

He explained that the project did not cover all the final year students throughout the country but a selected few, some of whom never saw a physical computer before.

Mr Siaw said in 2019, 45 schools were covered, in 2020, another 45 schools and in 2021, 48 schools benefited in the project.

Gratitude

The Board Chairperson of GhLA, Dr Helena Asamoah-Hassan, for her part, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their support to GhLA to reach that level of recognition.

“This award by the United Nations comes on the back of a similar recognition by the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards earlier in the year as the 2021 Library of the Year,” she remarked.