Working together for reading
We recently brought our partners together at a learning event in Nairobi to share learnings and strengthen their capacity. We asked James, our East Africa Representative, to tell us why the event was so very important.
At Book Aid Interantional, we believe that partnerships are vital. It is only by working together that we can create sustainable change and give more people the opportunity to read.
Our whole model of how we select and send books is based on partnership, and we especially value partners’ local expert knowledge to inform our project models. So we are very interested in strengthening the skills and the capacity of our library and education partners, as they are the actors who give communities greater access books.
Our Partner Development Programme (PDP) grew from our desire to do more with fantastic organisations that are strong, active and driving a shared cause. One of its aims is to build a vibrant network of partners who can support each other as they grow, and the recent learning event in Nairobi was a key part of achieving that aim.
With support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery we brought nine partner organisations from across sub-Saharan Africa together for a three-day learning event in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on how to create opportunities to read in some of the world’s most marginalised communities.
Partners had the opportunity to visit the Kenya National Library Service Libraries, as well as a thriving NGO library. The visits were eye opening to many! Participants also displayed their own experiences from across the nine countries they represented, demonstrating a rich portfolio of programmes.
The bonding of partners and free sharing of knowledge at the learning event was a good starting point to forming a community of practice and peer support.
This networking amongst partners will also help them not to feel isolated in their endeavors to develop literacy skills and reading promotion. Rather, they will feel as part of a bigger movement in Africa that is addressing key development challenges.
In the long-run, interaction with peers from other countries will help them grow confidence to improve on their practice, and the PDP will give partners the expanded knowledge and stronger skills to take their organisations to the next level.
It really is a great programme, and we are grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for funding this important work! In the years to come the focus on building partners’ holistic capacity will no doubt strengthen our programmes, and lead to partners reaching more readers.
Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.
We work with partners to make sure books that will have the biggest impact go where they are needed most.
Books give people the power to change their lives for the better and create a more equal future. Every year, we offer the opportunity to read to millions.