Books For Africa 2016 Annual Report: Words Change Worlds
Books For Africa is excited to share our 2016 Annual Report! 2016 was a fantastic year here at BFA, and the generous support of our donors has allowed us to make great strides in fighting the African book famine.
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2016 kicked off with BFA site visits to Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. This included attending the Corporate Council on Africa annual meeting (in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), BFA founder Tom Warth's walk across Zanzibar, and a Peace Corps site visit in Uganda (including a stop at the first library ever served by BFA)! We were excited to finalize arrangements for our million books for Ethiopia project on this trip. David Robinson, son of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, joined Tom on his walk across Zanzibar, then visited Minnesota in September to promote BFA and raise funds to deliver books to Tanzania, where he has lived for over 30 years and works as the head of a local coffee cooperative. These site visits, combined with an improved recipient feedback process and associated data, allow us to identify success points of our current programs, and help pinpoint where we can improve our process to create the best possible outcomes for recipients.
We interacted with numerous members of the African diplomatic corps in 2016 to build relationships and advance our mission. In April, Her Excellency Oliver Wonekha, Ugandan Ambassador to the U.S., hosted BFA's annual Summit Society reception at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington, DC. In May, at our annual Books Change Lives fundraising luncheon, Kenyan Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Robinson Njeru Githae,gave a keynote speech emphasizing the critical role that books and literacy play in ending the cycle of poverty and violence in Africa. Ambassador Githae also officially opened our new administrative office in St. Paul, MN during his visit. South African Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, formally opened the new BFA Atlanta warehouse with a dedication ceremony in June to celebrate the opening of our 66,000 square foot facility. Our Minnesota warehouse hosted H.E. Wilson Mutagaywa Masilingi, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the U.S., to discuss more ways to put books in the hands of students in Tanzania.
Presentations to the African diplomatic corps and the African Studies Association Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., as well as the American Library Association in Orlando, rounded out a great year of relationship-building.
In 2016 we shipped 2.4 million books, 154 computers and 62 e-readers containing 467,000 digital books, as well as 7 new law and human rights libraries to 25 African countries. More than $2.5 million was raised to ship these books to students across Africa. In 2016 we had approximately 13,000 volunteers sorting books for shipment to Africa in our warehouses. We expect even bigger and better things to come in 2017!