You're viewing an archived version of this project. Please visit the new Big Give site to find current fundraising campaigns.

Project information

Books Change Lives

Book Aid International increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. We provided over half a million new books to over 2,000 libraries last year alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954.

February 2013 - December 2015

Charity information: Book Aid International

Book Aid International logo
  • Need


    An estimated 153 million adults in sub-Saharan Africa lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, two-thirds of whom are women, and millions of children remain out of school. When people cannot read or write, when they lack the skills and abilities that a good quality education offers, they are condemned to a life of poverty, ill-health and social exclusion.

    Across the world, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all children left school with basic reading skills. UNESCO, 2010


    Book Aid International increases the access to books and improves library facilities. Each year we send over half a million carefully selected, high quality books to our main in-country partners across sub-Saharan Africa to be distributed to public and community libraries, schools, prisons, refugee camps and NGO resource centres. We also train staff, fund purchase of locally published books, and support library refurbishment and infrastructure.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa


    » This will be achieved by providing in-country partners across the region with 500,000 high-quality books, train staff and improve library facilities.

    What success will look like

    Success will be the shipment of 500,000 books to our partners in sub-Saharan Africa and improved library facilities.

  • Impact


    Over the long term, Book Aid International hopes to improve literacy, and develop a reading culture in countries and communities where without books, this is impossible to foster.

    Feedback from librarians, community elders and library users collected annually will demonstrate the difference our support is making.


    We are dependent on the UK publishing trade for over 95% of the books we send. Therefore, we have a dedicated member of staff to ensure we receive enough appropriate books to provide our partners with over 500,000 annually.


    For donations over £500 we provide donors with an feedback pack 9 -12 months after each gift. For donations under £500, donors will receive our bi-annual newsletter Bookmark.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,000,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £400,000 Book provision acquisiton, selection & shipping of books
      £300,000 Training training of library staff
      £300,000 Refurbishment refurbishment of libraries and grants for local book purchase
  • Background


    We provide books to: Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Somalia (Puntland, Somaliland), South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories


    Two-thirds of the books we send are for children and young people. We also provide health and medical, vocational, and agricultural titles, reference books, and fiction for adult readers. We work with partners to make sure that books reach disadvantaged groups such as nomads, girls and women, refugees, people with disabilities, and former child soldiers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Book Aid International is the UK's leading library development agency with 60 years of experience of providing books to some of the world's poorest communities.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jill Haynes

    Head of Programmes at Book Aid International, she leads the Programmes and Operations team that delivers all our programmes in Africa and beyond.

"These books have brought hope to a generation of people who thought their dream of a right to an education had been lost."

Douglas Siatimba, Librarian, Victoria Falls Public Library, Zimbabwe