A unique partnership

The £1.8 million of funding we have received from players since 2015 has enabled us to make a huge step-change in our charitable activities. We have been able to meet our strategic goals of:

  • donating more books and working with more partners,
  • developing a wide range of innovative library and education projects that build local capacity,
  • creating sustainable change in communities,
  • encouraging more people than ever to discover the joy of reading.

In the last five years we have made huge progress towards our strategic goals and People’s Postcode Lottery has been there every step of the way. They have encouraged us to take risks, have challenged us to do more and have brought us together with other like-minded organisations to partner and learn.

Extraordinary change is possible when people are given equal access  to books — and by helping us grow, players have opened doors to new  possibilities for millions.”

Lord Paul Boateng, Book Aid International Chair, speaking at the 2016 People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala, Edinburgh 

Support from players since 2015 £1.8m invested in


Developing organisational capacity


Delivering programmes


Piloting projects


Leveraging support and raising our profile

Resulting in
Direct Impact


  • New countries supported
  • More books donated
  • Operations team expanded


    • Innovative projects developed
    • Experience working with new beneficiary groups gained
    • Programmes team expanded


    • Impact measurement strengthened
    • Matched funding for projects secured
    • Communications and storytelling developed


    • Wider NGO partnerships established
    • Projects with the People’s Postcode Lottery family delivered

    Leading to
    Enabled Impact

    • More resilient Communities
    • More informed health professionals
    • More pupils with books in their schools
    • More children experiencing the joy of reading
    • More refugees with access to books

    With support from players...


    We developed our Theory of Change, defining our spheres of control, influence and interest. This enabled us to focus our work where we could achieve the greatest impact.

    We set up Children’s Corners in five public libraries in Malawi, donating 21,186 books and transforming library spaces. In the first year children made over 26,155 visits to their new libraries.


    We donated 38,222 books to schools in Sierra Leone when pupils went back to school after a year’s closure during the devastating Ebola epidemic.

    We piloted our school library programme Inspiring Readers in 25 schools in Kenya, bringing new books to over 14,000 pupils in the country’s most deprived schools.


    We continued to develop our work in West Africa, sending 23,091 books to Liberia to support pupils as schools recovered from 14 years of civil war.

    We piloted a project for secondary school students, creating Study Hubs in two libraries and six satellite schools in Zambia, resulting in a 500% increase in library use!


    We developed a brand video shot in Kenya, capturing a child’s joy in reading an inspirational book. The film won many prizes and prompted a donation of £5,000.

    We expanded our work to Ghana, partnering with People’s Postcode Lottery-supported charity AfriKids and donated over 66,000 new books to libraries and schools across the country.


    We began working in the Adjumani Refugee Settlement in Uganda, with our Child Friendly Spaces project providing books to over 3,000 child refugees.

    We transformed a 40-foot shipping container into a thriving community library in Kigali, Rwanda, filled with over 5,000 brand new books for children and adults.

    Direct Impact

    The flexible and long-term funding we have received from players since 2015 has enabled us to build our capacity to send more books, to develop our capability to deliver innovative projects, to leverage funding and support and to collaborate with dynamic library and education partners to enrich, improve and change lives around the world.

    Capacity: more books for more communities

    1. Donating more books

    In our Vision 2020: Books Change Lives strategy we set ourselves the goal of sending 1.5 million books a year by 2020 (in 2013 we donated c.560,000 books). To reach this target we invested funding from players in a dynamic evening team in our Camberwell warehouse. In 2018 this team enabled us to send 300,000 more books around the world and has created a larger, stronger team for future expansion.

    2. Increased capacity

    As we increased our capacity we were able to expand from working in 13 countries in 2013 to 26 countries by the end of 2019. We focused in particular on developing our work in West Africa, with its strong demand for books in English.

    3. Supporting new beneficiaries

    The first shipment of 38,222 books sent to the Sierra Leone Library Board post Ebola in 2016 was funded by players and this partnership has gone from strength to strength. Our player-funded Children’s Corners, set up in five libraries in Ghana in 2019 are driving up child visits, supporting local schools and inspiring whole communities.

    Capability: wider projects and programmes

    1. Working with new beneficiary groups

    In our Vision 2020: Books Change Lives strategy we committed to supporting the growing refugee and internally displaced populations in Africa. We invested funds from players in developing an innovative programme for refugee pupils in camps in Kenya and Uganda to access books in schools.

    2. Piloting new projects

    Funding from players also supported an important new pilot project in Zambia in 2017 to promote STEM subjects to secondary school students and prepare them for the world of work.

    Leverage: building strong support for our work

    1. Theory of Change

    In 2016 we used funding from players to develop a Theory of Change to help us better understand the impact of our work and improve programme implementation. We now refer regularly to our Theory of Change to help us challenge our assumptions and articulate our long-term goals.

    2. Improved impact measurement

    Players also funded an impact assessment visit to Kenya in 2017 to help us
    better understand the long-term impact of the books we provide, as well as to develop essential tools for interviewing beneficiaries and conducting focus groups. This has improved our evaluations across all projects.

    3. Raising support for our work

    The pilot Study Hub project in Zambia in 2017, funded by players, helped us leverage a further c.£50,000 of funding from corporate supporter Aggreko to open two more STEM Study Hubs in Ghana and Malawi.

    4. Flexible funding

    We have also used the flexible funding from players to respond to opportunities for exciting new projects: in 2019 we used £15,000 of our grant to transform a 40-foot shipping container into a thriving community library in downtown Gasave, Kigali, Rwanda, the first project site for this new model of community support.

    5. Telling an inspirational story

    Our player-funded brand film launched in November 2018 and has already mobilised a £5,000 donation from a major donor, been shortlisted for a Charity Film of the Year Award, won an EVCOM Clarion Gold, an EVCOM Gold, an EVCOM Silver Award and has been viewed over 6,000 times. This outstanding film is helping us tell the story of why our work matters and reach out to new audiences.

    Collaboration: working together to deliver change

    Part of the family

    Support from the People’s Postcode Lottery family has extended far beyond funding. Networking, shared learnings and joint project opportunities have been some of the many benefits of the partnership.

    AfriKids partnership

    In 2017-18 we began working with People’s Postcode Lottery-supported charity AfriKids to support their reading and learning programme in northern Ghana, Opening Doors to Schools, with teacher training and a donation of over 20,000 carefully-selected books to establish school libraries in some of the region’s most poorly-resourced schools.

    Enabled impact

    Books have the power to change lives. They help individuals build the skills that equip them for work, creating more self-sufficient and resilient communities; they are the single most important learning tool, ensuring children receive a quality education. The gift of reading is transformational and lasts a lifetime.

    In numbers


    primary school pupils supported by Inspiring Readers by 2020


    books sent to schools and libraries with player support


    medical texts sent to university and hospital libraries with player support


    Children's Corners funded entirely by players

    1. Enriching education

    As part of our Inspiring Readers programme in Sierra Leone, we donated over 29,000 brand new children’s books to 25 primary schools.

    Before this time, to be honest, the children were poor in reading, we didn’t have a lot of reading materials. Since this project has been in progress they can now read actually. They have that reading culture in them now.”

    Foday Braima, teacher, Roman Catholic Primary School, Sierra Leone

    2. Building resilience

    In Zimbabwe, books are being used to support income generation projects in rural communities. One community of women has developed a nutrition garden, growing vegetables to sell.

    At the moment they are looking at planting potatoes. So using a book, they will discuss why grow potatoes, do they have enough water, the soil you need for potatoes. The garden is flourishing… it’s generating income.”

    Jackson, librarian, Zimbabwe

    3. Saving lives through health care

    Most medical colleges and teaching hospitals in Africa simply cannot afford up-to-date medical texts for their students and staff.

    Working in the remote areas here in Malawi, you are the obstetrician, the anaesthetist and the paediatrician at the same time as being the midwife. There are times that you are not sure what to do! A book does wonders because you can look and see how you can go about something.”

    Fikanayo, midwife, Malawi

    4. Inspiring a lifetime of reading

    Across Africa, many families cannot afford to buy books and even in libraries shelves are often bare.

    Participation in the Children’s Corners Ethiopia project enabled the Holeta staff to repair the leaks in the roof, redecorate the space, and update their book collection. Within six months over 300 children started coming to the library to read on a monthly basis. We’ve never seen this number of children coming to this library before"

    Tigist Semayat, librarian, Ethiopia

    Reaching refugees

    Across Africa war, instability and economic crisis continue to displace millions and many more live with ongoing conflict. Uganda alone is home to 1.4 million refugees from the region. Many will wait years to go home and without the opportunity to learn, temporary displacement can become a lifetime of lost potential.

    1. Reading for All Kakuma

    Teaching in one of Africa’s largest refugee camps in Kakuma, Kenya is a tough job. There can be over 200 children at a time in the corrugated iron classrooms that make up a typical school and teaching resources are scarce. Our Reading for All Kakuma project, launched in 2018, provided teachers in 10 nursery and primary schools and six secondary schools with new books and new skills, enabling them to improve the quality of education for 28,510 of the camp’s youngest inhabitants.

    2. Child Friendly Spaces

    More than 200 children a day flock to the eight Child Friendly Spaces, funded by players and run in partnership with local NGO TPO Uganda, in the Refugee Settlement areas of Adjumani and Bidibidi in Northern Uganda. Over 15,000 new books in beautifully organised libraries alongside lively educational programmes add a new dimension to the regular therapeutic activities run by the community ‘animators’. Staff have reported noticeable changes in behaviour, with children reading together and making friends, rather than being in conflict.

    A future rich in books

    Since 2015, funding from players has helped us to make a huge step change in our work. Now as we move into our next strategic period from 2021 we are poised to take the next big step forward.

    We are ambitious to expand our work globally and to grow our capacity far beyond the 1.2 million books we provided to our partners in 2019 and we know that support from players will be vital in achieving that growth. We thank all at People’s Postcode Lottery for this truly transformational partnership.

    "NOW it's time for Africa"

    One of our most inspiring partners is the new Siilaanyo National Library in Hargeisa, Somaliland, a nation devastated by the long war with neighbouring Somalia.

    The future of Somaliland is very bright and there is a lot of development going on. So, we say NOW it’s time for Africa. Everybody who supports Book Aid International – the books and the money which you are donating are helping so many. Please continue to support this organisation, which is making a big difference for our country and other countries in Africa!”

    Ahmed, Founder, Siilaanyo National Library, Somaliland