Books For Africa Addresses Poverty Through Reading

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Books For Africa is a nonprofit organization that commits to sending large numbers of high-quality books to African communities. Since its founding in 1988, the organization has donated more than 51 million books, reaching every country in Africa. The process is simple. The organization receives book donations from people around the world. Then, Books For Africa picks a diverse selection of books to go into a shipping container bound for Africa. Each book costs the organization about 90 cents to ship and each shipping container holds anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 books.

The Borgen Project spoke with Books For Africa’s Executive Director Patrick Plonski. Rather than sending the books wherever the organization prefers, the organization operates under what Plonski describes as a “demand-driven” system. Organizations in Africa send out requests for books, which Books For Africa then attempts to meet. The sizes of organizations requesting books range from as small as a village to as large as a country.