Wednesday, May 25, 2005


A Canadian charitable organization with over 40 years in experience in promoting education and literacy in the developing world, CODE seems to have a formula for success.

Having been awarded the UNESCO International Prize for Literacy in 1987 and the Government of Canada’s Literacy Innovation Award in 1999, in addition to many other awards, it is clear that CODE’s value to the global community has been recognized.

CODE’s Vision is “To support a sustainable literate environment in the developing world." And its Mission Statement is "Enabling people to learn by developing partnerships that provide resources for learning, promote awareness and understanding, and encourage self-reliance."

Founded in 1959 as “Books for Developing Countries” it changed its name once more before becoming “CODE” in 1982. By 1970 it had become a registered charitable organization under the name “Overseas Book Centre” (OBC)

By the time it was renamed CODE, the organization was shipping more than 20 tons of books each year to 85 countries. And in that same year, it expanded the items shipped to pencils, audio-visual equipment and typewriters.

In order to share its expertise in book donations to developing countries CODE has edited, designed and printed a book in Canada entitled: “Book Donations for Development.” This book was written by Mauro Rosi of the Division of Arts and Cultural Enterprise of the Cultural Sector of UNESCO.

Building on the work of UNESCO, CODE and the International Book Bank when these three organizations sponsored a symposium in 1992. The international symposium entitled, Donated Book Programs: A Dialogue of Partners, in Baltimore, USA. The proceedings of the symposium were published by The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in 1993.

Hardcopies of Book Donations for Development are available from CODE for distribution through non-governmental agencies and library associations/institutions involved in book donation projects. This book provides both policy and practical information for donors and recipients of book donation projects and it is intended as an educational and training tool.

Believing that there is strength in numbers and unity, CODE has been working in partnership with affiliates in order to achieve its goals. In 1991 the International Book Bank became a CODE affiliate. CODE, Inc. and The CODE Foundation are affiliates as well.

CODE works with 13 partner organizations in eight countries in Africa and one in the Caribbean. Its primary target group is primary school-aged children through programs designed to support communities where children have inadequate access to literacy resources and skilled teachers. And while CODE does work with partners who provide services to address the needs of the total population CODE only provides support for the portions of the programs directed towards increasing the literacy level of children.

There are four general areas where CODE concentrates it efforts:

Provision of children's learning materials;
Skills development in teaching/librarianship;
Promotion of literate environment for children; and,
Strengthening resource and education networks.

In Guyana, the Guyana Book Foundation (GBF) was established in 1990. And according to CORE’s web site: “Long-term funding agreements with CODE have allowed GBF to implement projects throughout the country in the establishment of community libraries, in the distribution of educational materials, in supporting the local publishing sector, and in the training of teachers, library assistants and literacy workers to facilitate literacy development.” GBF has also been awarded contracts from other funding sources to help it carry out its missions. The objectives of this CORE funded program, which will continue through 2006 are “to continue to provide reading materials for children, to increase the ability of children to read, and to build capacity to support a literate environment in Guyana.”

In 1987 CODE began a program in Ethiopia in co-operation with a committee of government department heads in education, curriculum development and book production. This program focused on addressing the widespread shortage of appropriate learning materials in schools and communities. Together, CODE and its Ethiopian partners have coordinated paper support for the production of textbooks, and the production of rural newsletters. They have established reading rooms, and distributed books donated from North American sources.

In 1994, CODE and Ethiopia partners established a non-profit, non-governmental organization - CODE-Ethiopia. CODE-Ethiopia’s goal is to support a sustainable literate environment in Ethiopia as well as to encourage development through education by focusing on three areas: book distribution, library development and publishing.

Project Love was began by CODE on Valentine's Day in 1987. In this program, which targets young Canadians in order to help them learn about the challenges faced by children and teachers in other parts of the world and at the same time provides them an opportunity to act in order to help people their own age. CODE says that Project Love “talks to young people about international development in terms they can understand.”

More about CODE’s Project Love can be found at the following site.

CODE is involved in a lot of things, too many for me to list in this Blog article. So, if you want to know more, I suggest you go to their website at:

and learn more about it.

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