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Attracting new readers

Hear from our Head of Programmes, Samantha Sokoya, about our 2023/24 Community Reading Awards – a scheme that gives grants to our innovative partners who believe in helping people access the power of books.

We are now in our third year of the Book Aid International Community Reading Awards and during this time, we’ve been so inspired by our partners’ efforts to reach a range of community members who they believe are in most need of the opportunity to read. 

The awards have so far enabled 11,000 new readers to gain access to books in a range of new places, from a community library for market workers in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to mobile reading parks in rural Uganda.

The librarians and local community organisations that we work with know their neighbourhoods well and are adept at identifying community members who would benefit from easy access to books that will enrich and improve their lives.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. Congratulations to our winning partners! We look forward to hearing about how these initiatives are having an impact and the difference they make to the communities they reach.

Our 2023/4 winners are:

Books to the Boys – GHANA

Creating a library and literacy programme at the Senior Correctional Centre institution for young offenders; teaching inmates to read and providing access for regular reading. 

Jahunda Reading Club – ZIMBABWE

Establishing a mini library for elderly people who have been left to care for their grandchildren while parents search for pastures new across the border. Ensuring that long and expensive travel to the town library with the children are not necessary on their small pensions.  

Hanifer Community School Library – SIERRA LEONE

Providing the whole community with its first community library, based in a school and serving six surrounding schools.

Scrabble Scholars Igniting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) CAMEROON

Engaging at least 300 children in STEM themed reading circles, enhancing literacy skills while exploring science technology, engineering and mathematics concepts.

Little Hands Big Steps – KENYA

Engaging young mothers and carers with their children in a new reading area, to encourage and support play-based learning and pre-reading skills development.

Library @ the centre of the Village – UGANDA

Establishing a new public space within Kasaamu village where community members can freely access information materials, where there is no library.

Children’s Ward Mini Library- ZANZIBAR/TANZANIA

Creating a programme of activity for children receiving treatment at a new mini library within the children’s ward at Mnazi Moja referral hospital.

Strengthening Book Clubs to Enhance literacy – KENYA

Working with parents and carers on a literacy and numeracy intervention including book engagement and interactive reading activities for child/parent interaction at home.

Orphans Empowerment Reading Project – GHANA

Introducing a new reading programme to promote reading and address gaps in literacy development with orphans at the Potter’s Village.

Zezani Reading Hub – ZIMBABWE

Establishing a place for young people to find helpful reading materials to engage them in positive income generating projects and so helping to reduce drug, substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.

Orphanage Mini Library – ZANZIBAR/TANZANIA

Transforming a room at ZASO Children’s Home into a mini library space for the orphans; some of whom have missed significant school days or who have dropped out of school completely.

Book Aid International thanks players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting the Community Reading Awards.


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