BFA Publishing Initiative

The BFA Publishing initiative, Books For Africa will begin publishing books in local languages for charitable donation through partnership with a publisher.

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Traditionally, BFA sends donations of used books in English and occasionally French, Spanish and Arabic. With our new BFA Publishing initiative, however, we will be able to have books published and custom printed in local languages through partnership with a publisher.

A recent UNESCO publication points out that children, and especially girls, who read and learn in their mother tongue have greater enrollment and success in school (Ball, 2011). BFA Publishing is a demand-driven initiative that can translate the titles of the recipient's choosing into the language of the recipient's choosing, using the materials of the recipient's choosing. Children can see their own languages and their own culture reflected in the books they read, empowering them to read more both at school and in the home, and ultimately building a greater culture of reading.

This means more customized, demand-driven materials are arriving to the continent than ever before. Content can be selected to reflect the child's own environment - such as an alphabet book that begins "A is for Antelope" - and read to them in their own language. The initiative is aimed at fostering that feeling of empowerment and belonging, to encourage a lifelong love of reading.

An initial 300,000 Portuguese-language books arrived in Mozambique in 2019, after being custom printed and shipped from Hong Kong. The project was in partnership with Barefoot Books and FHI 360, and the books reached orphans and other children in vulnerable circumstances due to HIV/AIDS. Later in 2019, BFA worked with the Minnesota Humanities Center to custom-print 44,000 copies of Somali-language books for children in Somalia!

In addition to custom printing books, BFA also has a digital book initiative, which includes vast numbers of e-book titles in local languages. This allows us to achieve similar goals, but on a broader scale, since e-books can be distributed at lower cost.

As we grow and expand this initiative, we look forward to working with other partners to print books in other local and world languages!

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