The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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Books for Asia in Nepal

The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has provided more than 176,000 books and educational resources to Nepal since the late 1980s.

Status of Education in Nepal

Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries with 70 percent of its 29.5 million residents living in poverty. Slightly over half (55.2 percent) of Nepal's population is literate with women lagging behind men at 42 percent and 69.3 percent, respectively. Secondary school enrollment is lower than the regional average at 46 percent. Although Nepali is the medium of instruction at all levels of the educational system, English is taught as a compulsory second language beginning in fourth grade.

Current Focus

Annually, Books for Asia donates more than 24,000 new books from American publishers to nearly 80 organizations in 18 districts across Nepal. Secondary schools and nongovernmental organizations receive the largest number of books, followed by community information centers, public libraries, government agencies, and medical colleges. A special emphasis is placed on providing law books to public interest organizations and legal educational institutions to strengthen the rule of law and good governance. In addition, Books for Asia promotes children's education by partnering with Magic Yeti Libraries and Room to Read Nepal.

Read more about The Asia Foundation's work in Nepal.

Project and Partner Highlights

LexisNexis and the International Law Book Facility: Legal reference books donated by the publisher LexisNexis and the UK-based International Law Books Facility (ILBF) are important sources of information on international legal standards for the Kathmandu School of Law, Tribhuvan University Law Library, Supreme Court of Nepal Law Library, Nepal Bar Association, Forum For Protection of Public Interest (Pro Public), Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), National Human Rights Commission, National Judicial Academy, Ministry of Law and Justice, and the RESPRO Academy.

Community Information Centers (CICs): In a country that does not have a national library system, these centers in Biratnagar, Bhairhawa, Birgunj, Pokhara, and Dhangadi [established by the U.S. Embassy] provide the local community with access to books. Books for Asia donates social science, literature, and humanities books to these centers and helps conduct community outreach and awareness activities.

Magic Yeti Library: The Magic Yeti Library was initiated by American mountaineers who were dismayed at the lack of children's books in Himalayan communities. Today, several more Magic Yeti libraries are in the works in the Mustang Valley with support from individual book donors in the U.S. and Books for Asia. Becoming more literate and improving English skills will increase job opportunities for children in these hard-working Sherpa communities.

Room to Read Nepal. Since 2002, Books for Asia has collaborated with Room to Read to deliver nearly 330,000 children's books to more than 2,861 school libraries in 25 districts across Nepal.

Major Publisher Donors: Lexis Nexis, John Wiley & Sons, Lynne Rienner, W.W. Norton & Company, Scholastic, Abrams, and Island Press.


Shameera Shrestha
Books for Asia Officer

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