Project information

Reading for Life

A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5 (UNESCO). With 38% of African adults (some 153 million) illiterate, and two thirds of these women, there is an urgent need for our work, providing literacy resources, facilities and activities to sub-Saharan Africa.

3 years

Charity information: School Aid UK CIO

School Aid UK CIO logo
  • Need


    Our work aims to support literacy education in sub-Saharan Africa as a means of improving access to education amongst the poorest, most disadvantaged communities in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.

    We are particularly concerned with the specific challenges in accessing education experienced by girls in many African countries. Latest UNESCO Instititute for Statistics (UIS) figures state that across the region, 9 million girls between 9 -11 will never go to school.


    'Reading for Life' will help provide the resources, facilities and skilled staff needed to support the development of literacy amongst children living in the most impoverished, often remote areas of Africa.

    It will help to ensure that the reading books provided and literacy activities organised are as relevant and accessible to girls as they are to the boys, and that the library facilities provide a welcoming and stimulating environment where children can read in safety.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Support the improvement of literacy skills for children in sub-Saharan Africa


    » Source, sort and ship 4000 good quality books to Africa
    » Open at least 2 new libraries in Africa which are welcoming, accessible and relevant to boys and girls of all ages
    » Run a programme of literacy which support and encourage positive reading habits amongst boys and girls

    What success will look like

    Increasing numbers of boys and girls will visit the library to read and borrow books
    Literacy activities will run on a regular basis
    Literacy will improve amongst girls and boys

  • Impact


    The development of literacy skills will lead to higher levels of access to education amongst girls and boys.
    Our local project manager will provide regular reports based on observation, feedback from library assistants, library software and school staff, as well as case studies of individual learners.
    Reports will record numbers involved, levels of engagement in literacy activities, the development of positive attitudes to reading and learning, and improved educational achievements.


    There is a risk of a funding shortfall but School Aid has a varied funding stream which reduces this risk.

    There is a possibility of a change of personnel in Africa for training and recruitment, but we are well -supported with a local team.

    There is also some risk of delay in the resource shipment process but School Aid’s experienced network is very knowledgeable about this route and has partners in place for support.


    Donors will receive letters and regular reports of project progress via newsletters and social media.

    Major donors will receive a copy of the Annual Report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £17,400 Library Refurbishment of 2 school rooms to provide 2 school library facilities
      £2,100 IT support Providing computer equipment and software to enable book usage to be monitored
      £2,000 Books sourcing, sorting, cataloguing, shipping books to stock libraries and resource literacy activities
      £1,725 Project Manager Provision of training and mentoring for Library Assistants
      £5,775 Library Assistant 3 years stipend and expenses for library Assistants
      £1,000 Project Management Liaison between UK and Africa, monitoring and evaluation

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    PCF £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our work forcuses on four countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We work with schools that are based in the poorer, most disadvantaged areas, where children often struggle to access even the most basic education.
    Sub Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion with over a fifth of 6-11 year-olds and a third of 12-14 year-olds out of school. Of these 9 million girls and 6 million boys aged 6-11 will never go to school.


    One library has the potential to directly benefit 800 African children each year, with further indirect benefits to their siblings, families, communities and indeed, their own children.

    The young people who will train as library assistants and receive mentoring when they begin their role working in the library will also benefit.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    School Aid is a long established, highly respected charity which has been successfully working to improve educational achievement for African children for twenty years.

    Since 1998, over 600,000 children have benefited from our books, libraries, and literacy activities and the training of local educators.

    We have recently won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, reflecting the high quality and cost-effectiveness of the work of our volunteers in providing support for children in Africa.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Janis Mowlam

    Chair of School Aid and Founder of School Aid South Africa, Janis has lived in S. Africa and Malawi and has a strategic overview of all programmes.

    Clare Junak

    UK-based General Manager, Clare heads the School Aid operation and co-ordinates all African projects and liaison with partners.

    Mike Makwela

    S. African-based Project Coordinator, Mike liaises with schools, recruits and trains Library Assistants, and manages library developments.