The Asia Foundation

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

The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia Program has distributed over 13 million books and journals to public and private institutions across the Philippines since 1954. Books for Asia donates books to all three of the island groups - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao - addressing the resource needs in 14 of 17 regions of the country.

Status of Education in the Philippines

Whereas the Philippines used to have one of the best education systems in Asia and continues to boast a high overall literacy rate of 93.3 percent, the quality of and access to education has deteriorated in recent decades due to declining investment, mismanagement, and population growth, currently at 92.7 million. Literacy rates are much lower in the south. In the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, for example, literacy is 23 percent below the national average. English is required in secondary schools across the country.

Current Focus

Books for Asia Philippines donates more than 140,000 new books and journals donated by American publishers to nearly 2,500 organizations each year, with an emphasis on providing basic textbooks and supplementary reading materials to elementary and high schools; collections for university law schools and business programs; and resource materials to nongovernmental organization. More than half of all distribution is in Mindanao, an area that has been wracked by sectarian conflict and separatist movements for decades. Improving access to quality education is fundamental to long-term peace and development in this southern part of the country.

Read more about The Asia Foundation's work in the Philippines.

Project and Partner Highlights

Del Monte Foundation, Inc. (DMFI). Sharing an ongoing commitment to expand educational opportunities in Mindanao, Books for Asia and DMFI distributed 12,600 books to nearly 250 public elementary schools in the province of Bukidnon in 2010.

Metrobank Foundation. The Asia Foundation supports Metrobank Foundation’s prestigious Search for Outstanding Teachers annual award by contributing books and reference materials to the schools of the winning teachers.

Sa Aklat Sisikat (SAS) Foundation. In partnership with the SAS Foundation and its 4th grade Reading Program, Books for Asia donates children's books to public elementary schools which are overburdened and under-resourced. Thus far, 300 elementary schools in Metro Manila, Isabela, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Bicol, and several provinces in Mindanao have benefitted from 17,000 new books and reading materials.

Books for Rural Barangays. In partnership with Kiwanis International Philippine South District and its "Kiwanis Book Bank Program," Books for Asia donates books to remote villages in central and southern parts of the country. Kiwanis clubs help identify eligible village schools and pay for the transportation of the books. To date, 55,000 brand new books have been distributed to 1,100 public schools and institutions across the Visayas and Mindanao through this initiative.

Aboitiz2Go. By offering discounted transportation rates, Aboitiz2Go enables Books for Asia to increase the number of books and institutions it can reach in remote areas.

Major publisher donors: McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lynne Rienner, W.W. Norton & Company, Island Press, Abrams, and the New England Journal of Medicine.


Efren Balajadia
Books for Asia Director

Reynald Ocampo
Assistant Program Officer

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