Publisher spotlight: Globe Law and Business

“Books are rare in Cameroon, especially current and high quality books like those which Book Aid International supplies. The meticulousness of Book Aid International’s book selection ensures that what is sent fits the needs of the end user not only in terms of quality but also in terms of relevance to academic and social context, thus giving them a life changing experience.” Andrew Nyenty, Executive Director, Education Information Services International (EISERVI), Cameroon.

What wonderful praise to receive from one of our partners! It’s thanks to the generosity of publishers that we can send useful, relevant books to our partners in Africa. Publishers donate the vast majority of the books which we send to our partners and without them, we couldn’t do the work we do.

One such publisher, from whom we have been delighted to receive books in the last year, is Globe Law and Business. The books they donate focus on business and specific areas of law such as banking and finance, intellectual property, dispute resolution, commercial, insolvency/restructuring and energy in particular. Their customers are based all over the world – from the UK to the Americas, Africa and Asia and their publishing reflects this. This means that thanks to Globe Law and Business’ donations, we are able to supply our partners in sub-Saharan Africa with books on topics truly relevant to their country and circumstances.

Globe Law and Business logo

Globe Law and Business’s books are of use not only to professionals but also higher education students and are therefore in high demand by all our partners for a broad cross section of libraries – from university, public and community libraries to libraries in refugee camps and prisons where readers use them for study, professional development and for reference in their work.


Books from the Intellectual Property and Media Law series

EISERVI, a Cameroonian NGO works in all ten regions of the country and is committed to maximising access to education and information and supports community and council libraries, and libraries in schools, orphanages and prisons throughout the country. They work to ensure that the books, like those donated by Globe Law and Business, are distributed to the libraries where they will be most valued, including Nkum Council Library. This library has proved invaluable to Yaya Yakubo Gouwan, 42, the Municipal Treasurer of Jakiri Council in the development of his career. Yaya found that a lot was changing in his field of work. To keep up with these changes, he decided to undertake a distance-learning BSC programme, borrowing books from Nkum Council Library to help with his studies and course work. He successfully completed his BSC and is now studying for his Masters degree. This wouldn’t have been possible without the well-stocked library in Nkum:

“I travel every weekend to Nkum to read, and do my research and borrow new books. The library is fantastic, having just the right type of books one needs to take on any challenging course in the world. It is a jewel for the people of this area and I am a beneficiary of this excellence.”

Thank you to all the publishers who support our work.

Posted in Blog, Cameroon, Community libraries, Education, Libraries | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE: Book Aid International expands Children’s Corners project to Zambia


Library development charity Book Aid International is to extend its Children’s Corners project into Zambia later in 2015, it was revealed today.

Children's Corner

An example of a Children’s Corner in Bonna Baana, Uganda

The project, which is called Open Doors, aims to create spaces for children to read, play and learn in 60 public libraries in Africa. The charity has already established 21 Open Doors Children’s Corners in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi (supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery) and Cameroon and is now preparing to begin work in Zambia in September this year.

Alison Hubert, Director of Book Aid International said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the expansion of our Open Doors project to Zambia later this year. We have already seen the benefit of establishing Children’s Corners in public libraries and we know that this next tranche of the project will have a huge impact for thousands of children in Zambia, opening doors to a lifetime of literacy, learning and opportunity.

“At Book Aid International, we know just how important it is for children to have safe, engaging spaces in which they can begin to explore reading from a young age. Many of the children who benefit from Open Doors Children’s Corners have no other access to books, either at home or in school, so these spaces really do provide a unique opportunity for them to improve their reading skills and develop a love of books.”

The Open Doors project creates areas within libraries that children can use freely. Each Children’s Corner receives 2,500 new, carefully selected children’s books from the UK, funding to purchase around 350 locally published books in local languages, a grant for small refurbishments and training for two librarians to help them engage with the children and reach out to the wider community.

Abdu Sseggane, the Librarian in a Ugandan Children’s Corner established by Book Aid International in 2014 said: “Before, the community had a perception that the library was for older people. There was no way a kid could go and visit the library when there were older people there. Now they have a separate section, they feel free to read and enjoy, and this has helped them improve their literacy skills.”

The new phase of the project will see Children’s Corners established in six public libraries in Zambia in Mongu, Choma, Mansa, Solwezi, Chipata and Kasama.

Book Aid International works in 11 African countries and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to distribute books and learning resources and to train librarians. The charity partners with local library services and communities to provide safe, engaging spaces to access books and reading. Visit for more information.



For further information and comment please contact Jessica Faulkner, Head of Communications at Book Aid International.


t: 020 7326 5800

Book Aid International

Book Aid International works in partnership with libraries in Africa, providing new books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish. The charity’s vision is of vibrant libraries that inspire readers and empower communities.

Open Doors

Book Aid International’s Open Doors appeal aims to create spaces for children in 60 public libraries in Africa over three years.


Posted in Children's Corners, Community libraries, Education, Libraries, Literacy, News, Open Doors, Zambia | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Great news from our friends at MYSA

Recently, we were privileged to have David Thiru, Executive Director at the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in Nairobi visit us at our offices in Camberwell, London.

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David Thiru in our warehouse in Camberwell

MYSA works in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya and seeks to empower young people living in the slum to fulfil their potential and improve their lives and communities.

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Over the rooftops of Mathare

As part of MYSA’s numerous community activities (which range from organising youth football leagues to youth rights), they run four libraries in Mathare, to which Book Aid International is proud to supply books. In fact, we’ve just dispatched nearly 3,000 novels and simplified readers to MYSA and will be sending them further books, including children’s and school books later on this year.

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Through their libraries, MYSA hopes to enhance educational opportunities, inspire a reading culture and create a sense of community within the slum, overcoming political and tribal differences. MYSA has its sights set on having a library in every one of the 16 zones in Mathare but to achieve this, it has a real need for buildings to house the libraries. However, thanks to the generosity of the publishers that support our work, books are not in short supply for these libraries.

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Children enjoying a reading activity in one of MYSA’s libraries

MYSA’s libraries cater for children and adults alike but with a particular emphasis on children’s fiction and education. Many families in Mathare live in single room huts with poor lighting and roofs which often leak when it rains. The libraries provide children with a quiet haven where parents know they are safe. They are encouraged to get into books and reading through the storytelling sessions, reading groups and art clubs that the libraries run. The libraries are largely run by volunteers – themselves library members – and young adults who have benefitted from the mentoring scheme the libraries run, now mentor children themselves. In this way, as with all MYSA’s community activities, children are involved in every aspect of the library which gives them a huge sense of ownership and belonging, not to mention skills and purpose:

I first visited the library with my school when I was a class five pupil. Through these visits, I became very fond of the library so I decided to join it. I’d visit the library after school and it really helped me – I was able to read books and improve my written and spoken English. As a result my performance at school improved and I became one of the top scorers in my class. In my last year of primary school, I made use of the textbooks in the library and managed to pass my end of year exams and was admitted to a good secondary school. I am now in the last year of secondary school and the library is still playing an important role in my studies. The books and quiet environment are really adding value to my studies and the role models and leaders who offer guidance to me is a benefit that I cannot fail to recognise. I am happy to have this library and am gladly making use of all its resources to brighten my life.” Caroline Mbula,17, student at Makuyu Girls’ School.

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Mathare resident, Bilha, receiving homework help from her mentor, Samuel

While David was visiting, we were excited to hear of MYSA’s new Moving Books programme which seeks to supply boxes of books (100 books at a time) to primary schools which do not have any books of their own and are in areas of Mathare too far away from the MYSA libraries for students to visit either with their school or out of hours. Once a month, a school’s Moving Books box will be returned to MYSA and replaced with another box containing a set of new books. MYSA hopes that the programme will help promote and develop a reading culture among pupils and teachers in these schools, support the teachers’ lessons and improve the children’s literacy skills. Books supplied by Book Aid International will form part of the collection in the Moving Books programme and we look forward to bringing you news of the impact that this outreach programme is having within Mathare schools.

George Wambugu , MYSA Slum Libraries Project Manager says “We thank Book Aid International for thousands of books they have and are donating to the MYSA Libraries, they are changing people’s lives.” And thank you from us to our supporters who make this possible.

Watch this film to find out how our work with MYSA is making a difference to people’s lives in Mathare.

Posted in Blog, Kenya, Libraries | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fun in the sun for Book Aid International

In November last year, our Head of Fundraising and Communications Jacqui Scott left us to start a new life in the New Forest. Happily for us, she hasn’t forgotten us, and recently held a fundraising ‘Garden Gate’ event with her family to raise funds. Here’s some hot fundraising tips from Jacqui…

When my family and I moved down to Lymington in the New Forest late last year, and I (with heavy heart) left my role as Head of Fundraising and Communications of Book Aid International, my young children were very keen to do something to make sure that the family continued to support the charity’s great work. So keen in fact, that they were brainstorming in the car on the way from London to fetch the keys for our new house from the estate agent. Which may not be the world’s best ever time to make commitments to one’s small children.

But in any case we did – and the commitment was that in the Summer, we would have a lemonade stall outside our new front yard, just like….well, just like almost any child in any children’s book ever written… Lucky for us, our part of town holds an annual yard sale event in the early summer, where everyone puts a table out in front of their homes and sells on anything that their kids have outgrown, or got removed in the latest renovation. Because I am a dreadful hoarder, and I can’t bear to cull any books whatsoever, there wasn’t much “stuff” to sell, so lemonade it was. And cakes and ices of course.


The children ready the stall on the morning of the sale

Obviously, with two eager six-year-olds in the house, I had plenty of help in the kitchen.  Oh, what’s that you say, there’s lego to play with? And some colouring? And a football? And bugs to look at in the garden? Suffice to say, it is lucky that there is one person in the house who is reasonably handy in the kitchen.

I planned on fairly inexpensive inputs – loads of lemons and flour and sugar just aren’t that expensive, and we always have plenty of cake decorating bits and pieces about (two small kids, you see). About a week before I made all the ices – they had to be done in batches because we only had 12 ice moulds, so that was a bit of a challenge – resolved by large quantities of cling film. Then two days before, because I had a full day course to attend the day before(!), I whizzed up a couple of dozen cupcakes, a lemon drizzle cake (known as lemdriz in our house), a Victoria sponge  and the lemonade. I think I more or less spent two hours in total.  The cake decorating I left up to the children. After assessing their cake decorating creativity, I was inspired to market the cupcakes as inspired by Jackson Pollock!


Jackson-Pollock-inspired cupcakes!

On the morning of the yard sale, we fussed about getting tables and table cloths out, signs to promote Book Aid International, pricing signs (everything 50p – no point in making the maths complicated), and the all-important napkins, and decided on a tiny cull of children’s books.

We had a ball! We were the only people to be fundraising, and that gave us a unique selling point. No-one else was selling cakes and drinks either (although that will change next year after they saw how busy we were!). The kids and I had Book Aid International t-shirts on (partner went into refusal mode), the kids snuck snacks, and I stopped everyone who was passing with offers of sugary treats. All the cakes went (of course), and the lemonade was fantastic – so cheap to make and so much volume to sell!

Kids and cakes

The children sample their wares

By the end of the morning, we had raised nearly £60 – and I am told that we took more money at our gate than anyone else! We got to know a lot more neighbours, and they got to know us – but more importantly, they all got to know Book Aid International. It was fun, and I recommend it to anyone.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jacqui and her family for helping to raise money for us. If you’d like more ideas on how you can help us to send more books to libraries in Africa, see our fundraising ideas page.

Posted in Blog, Events, Fundraising, Libraries, Volunteering | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Half a million books!

To celebrate that we’ve already sent over half a million books to our partners in sub-Saharan Africa so far this year, we thought we’d share photos of a very small selection of the thousands of libraries and users that benefit from the books we send – libraries in schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons refugee camps and under resourced public and community libraries.

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Students hard at work in Technical and Vocational Teaching College’s library in Addis, Ethiopia

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Children enjoying their new Children’s Corner at Manyu Wisdom Library in Mamfe, Cameroon

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A Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia mobile library visits a school in Chipata, Zambia

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A student makes use of the well-stocked library at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda

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Children enjoying reading activities in Mathare North Library in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, Kenya

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Students hard at work in Kyambogo University’s library in Uganda

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Pupils in MA Ali Secondary School’s library in Somaliland (courtesy of the Africa Educational Trust)

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Studying mechanics in Addis Alem Public Library, Ethiopia

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Pupils distributing books to their class from their School Library in a Box at an island school in Kagera, Tanzania

Very many thanks to all our supporters who have made this milestone possible!

Posted in Africa, Blog, Cameroon, Children's Corners, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libraries, Schools, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment