Tuesday, May 10, 2005

SABRE Listens To Indigenous Organizations

Sabre, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based organization has been successfully distributing books around the world since it was started Book Donation Program in 1986. Sabre has now shipped $200,000,000 worth of new books and other educational materials to more than 80 countries.

Since 2001 most of Sabre's book shipments have gone to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These books are usually new college- and professional-level titles, but it also has high school, elementary and pre-school materials as well.

Sabre Foundation held the first meeting of its sub-Saharan African partner organizations in Accra, Ghana, in January 2002. Subsequently it held another conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in September 2004.

Sabre feels that a great deal of its success is attributable to the fact that they believe when it comes to the educational needs of developing and transitional countries, indigenous organizations know best. And because of this, they have designed a program that is “demand driven,” allowing overseas partners select the books and CD-ROMs that they want from a inventory list that is sent to them electronically.

Sabre obtains its inventory from donating publishers, and as a result, there volumes are new, high quality and up-to-date.

The books are in English, although a significant number of Spanish-language titles have also been added. In addition to books, Sabre holds CD-ROMS that cover many subject areas. Sabre also provides IT and computer training to partner organizations enabling them to take advantage of new technologies as a complement to more traditional media.

Not only is Sabre a 501(c)(3) organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, it is also registered as a Private Voluntary Organization with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Their Home web page states that Sabre provides “Humanitarian Aid for the Mind”

Sabre has also in active in distributing books in the Islamic world.

In September, 2004 Sabre attended the Algiers International Book Fair. This was done as
a pilot project, with the intent of possibly participating at additional fairs in the region.

Over a five day period of the Book Fair that lasted from September 8th until the 18th, Sabre distributed approximately 1,500 books and several hundred CD-ROMs.

The Fondation pour la Promotion de la Santé et le Développement de la Recherche (FOREM), partnered with Sabre on the project. FOREM made the arrangements for Sabre’s presence at the book fair and also distributed some 10,000 more children’s, reference, and medical books.

An unexpected outcome of Sabre’s presence at the book fair is the possibility that one of the books distributed by Sabre might be translated into Arabic. To paraphrase the way the Sabre newsletter put it: At the book fair the General Director of a subscription web site for travel and tourism, business, and geography expressed an interest in translating into Arabic the Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, which Sabre distributed at the Fair. Sabre put this individual in touch with the appropriate person at Harvard University Press, and negotiations are now underway for this translation project.

In addition to its book donation program, Sabre has conducted an IT training program since 1998. It does this by conducting workshops that cater to the specialized needs of librarians, teachers, students, trainers, scholars, entrepreneurs and NGO personnel.

Their website can be found at:


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