About Book Aid International and INTRAC’s work

Founded in 1954,  Book Aid International (BAI) is a UK registered charity.  It was set up to share the power of books and envisions a world “where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.” Book Aid International provides new books around the world and works with partners to create reading spaces, train teachers and librarians and spark a love of reading, by distributing books to schools, libraries, refugee camps and support settings in over two dozen countries.  

In its ‘Books have power – our 2022-2025 strategy,’ Book Aid International committed to developing dynamic partnerships with organisations that shared their vision of creating more equitable access to books.  They contracted INTRAC to help create a Partner Development Programme for nine civil society organisations in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.  The aim was to design a learning programme that would help Book Aid International to achieve its goals as well as to be valuable to these partners and support them in achieving their mission and their goals at the same time.     

Creating a Partner Development Programme 

INTRAC Principal Consultant Lucy Morris oversaw INTRAC’s work with Book Aid International.  

This two-year process began with two members of Book Aid International’s staff attending INTRAC’s online training in Partner Capacity Strengthening, to create a shared understanding of effective capacity strengthening approaches and principles.  

Next, INTRAC met with nine of Book Aid International’s partner organisations in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa. To better understand the needs of each organisation, Lucy helped them to undertake a concise organisational self-assessment process. Based on the needs identified from these assessments, INTRAC then co-designed a capacity development programme for partners. This programme consisted of three stages: 

  • The first stage involved partner organisations selecting from a menu of free, online courses and undertaking self-directed learning in topics such as governance, volunteer management, programme design, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL). The courses were provided by 3rd parties including the Change the Game Academy. 
  • The second stage involved bringing the partner organisations together so they could take part in face-to-face technical training and networking. This was delivered by Book Aid International in Nairobi, Kenya. The partners had not met before, so this was an opportunity for them to build connections and supportive peer relationships. 
  • The third stage involved partner organisations setting up and running a community of practice, facilitated by Book Aid International where partners met to share resources and challenges, and to provide peer support. 

Alongside this work, Principal Consultant Alison Napier helped Book Aid International to design and roll out an Organisational Impact Framework, up to the end of 2023.  

One of the desired outcomes for the Partner Development Programme was for Book Aid International to increase its own capacity to support partner capacity development work.   

100% of participants reported that Book Aid International had improved its capacity to support them since the start of the programme, as well as reporting increases in their own organisational capacity.  In addition, partners also reported seeing a positive shift in their relationship with Book Aid International  with INTRAC’s support. Following this positive process, Book Aid International plans to continue its journey towards building strong and equitable partnerships.