A world in need of the Ideas Box

The Ideas Box represents a major innovation in terms of access to information and culture in humanitarian crises.

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A catalyst

The Ideas Boxes have just completed their first year of operating and the initial data is extremely promising. Three key outcomes are particularly evident:

  • The mere existence of the Ideas Box has created a safe and attractive space for children, especially outside of school hours.
  • It enables the provision of quality education, offering students and teachers access to resources such as Khan Academy, provider of free, high quality educational videos from arithmetic to physics, and finance which we've translated into French. Noticing this newfound interest in education, several teachers have continued classes at the Ideas Box throughout summer vacation on a volunteer basis.
  • The Ideas Box has been a catalyst for community building within camps – hosting events run by women’s groups, a camp newspaper and right now, they are filming a horror movie in one of the camps!

Next steps

The first Ideas Box for Syrian refugees has just been launched in Jordan with support from the Alexander Soros Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency. It will be implemented by CARE international.

Two Ideas Boxes will also be welcomed by Somali refugees in Ethiopia this summer.

Beyond the refugee camp settings it was initially designed for, the Ideas Box is already gearing-up to be an end-to-end solution fit for a multiplicity of context, both in developing and developed countries.

This year, Ideas Boxes will be set up in indigenous communities in Australia, rural areas in France and low-income neighbourhoods in Paris, Beirut and New York. Ideas Box kits could be used in virtually any region of the world in order to reach the most remote populations, whether they have been affected by a humanitarian disaster or they may face systematic barriers to access information, education, culture, and connectivity.

They can also enrich the range of activities and services offered by existing libraries, particularly through outreach and external programmes that target communities who for any reason are alienated from reading and culture.

Barbara Schack is Director of Development, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières / Libraries Without Borders. Barbara has been leading Libraries Without Borders’ strategic development and international growth since 2012, driving the creation of overseas branches and the global coordination of the Ideas Box.

Ideas Box will be exhibiting at the CILIP Conference, July 2-3, Liverpool. 

Visit Ideas Box to learn more about how you can help provide access to information for vulnerable populations worldwide.

Image courtesy of Paskee / Shutterstock.com.


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