Hoopoe Books is an initiative of the U.S. based non-profit, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK). With the help of volunteers, donors, and grants to cover costs, Hoopoe Books donates to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout Central Asia. It also provides books to many thousands of street children.
Products and Offerings | The stories in Hoopoe books were selected and written especially for children by the Afghan author Idries Shah, who spent over 30 years collecting hundreds of such tales. The Hoopoe Books curriculum and the stories themselves emphasize higher-level thinking skills: critical, inferential and analogical thinking, and social and emotional development. The Hoopoe program also seeks to help readers develop perception skills. For instance, its stories aim to alleviate the influence of extremism, since the thought patterns developed through familiarity with these tales help to foster a flexibility of mind that is incompatible with extremist beliefs. In addition to books, the program provides school supplies, mp3 and CD audio readings for each edition, teacher training and self-explanatory classroom Teacher Guides. Through its training program, teachers learn to use the well-researched strategies developed in the West combined with their own traditional tales to teach literacy and thinking-skills in all genres: fiction, informational texts, and poetry. They come to understand the limitations of rote learning and become comfortable asking children questions, encouraging them to come to their own conclusions.
Family Literacy | A 2010 study involving 70,000 students from 27 countries shows that having books in the home is as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels, occupations or living standards. It has the most impact on the least educated and poorest families. Children who own Hoopoe Books often share them with their friends and read them to their siblings and parents, thus initiating family literacy. In addition, by providing their own traditional stories in book form, the Hoopoe program helps to make school acceptable even among the older more conservative community members, many of whom remember these stories from their own childhood.
Hoopoe Books for Afghanistan (BFA) | The need to increase literacy is vital for Afghanistan as it struggles to ensure stability, autonomy and peace for all its people. After thirty years of war, Afghan children know little of their rich history and culture. BFA seeks to “repatriate” Afghanistan’s own traditional tales in book form to develop family literacy and reinvigorate the nation's ancient storytelling tradition. The stories form a bridge between the more conservative elders, who may well remember them, and the younger generation, who needs to become literate in order to fully participate in a modern Afghanistan. BFA stories are published in bilingual Dari-Pashto and English-only paperback editions. Early in 2009 BFA partnered with Dr. Farid Bazger, president of Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR) in Kabul, to print and distribute its books throughout the country.
Hoopoe Books for Pakistan (BFP) | BFP launched in 2011 following the model of its companion initiative, BFA. BFP provides bilingual English and Urdu editions of BFA stories. In partnership with the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, BFP seeks to distribute its books to over one million disadvantaged children currently served by Alif Laila's extensive network of schools and mobile libraries. BFP also partners with Developments in Literacy (DIL) in order to distribute books within its network of 150 schools serving approximately 15,000 children, especially girls, throughout underdeveloped regions of Pakistan.
Click here to see full program profile
CEI approaches in actionStudent supportLearning materials for studentsSchool supportEarly Childhood DevelopmentEthics & Values/ReligionEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue languageCulture/indigenous knowledge21st century skills (soft skills)
Model details2006Not-for-profitLiteracyEthics & Values/ReligionEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue languageCulture/indigenous knowledge21st century skills (soft skills)ActiveLong-term projectFree service or productInstitute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK)Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR)Alif Laila Book Bus Society (ALBBS)Developments in Literacy (DIL)3,931,000
BFA | In partnership with KOR, other local NGOs, and the Kabul and District Ministries of Education (MOEs) Hoopoe reaches street children, school children, orphans, women and children in prisons, and victims of drug addiction and HIV/AIDs.
BFP | BFP's strategic partnerships with the Alif Laila Book Bus Society and Developments in Literacy (DIL) allow the program to reach underserved children throughout Pakistan, especially girls.
BFA | Since its first book was published in 2007, BFA has distributed 3.9 million books to children in Afghanistan. BFA has distributed copies of 10 titles to date: The Farmer’s Wife, The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water, The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal, The Old Woman and the Eagle, The Boy Without a Name, Neem the Half-Boy, and The Silly Chicken, Fatima the Spinner and the Tent, The Magic Horse, The Man and the Fox, The Man with Bad Manners, and The Old Woman and the Eagle.
BFP | Since the BFP program began in 2011, 31,000 books have been distributed to Pakistani children. Translated Teacher Guides from BFA have also been developed and translated into Urdu for use in Pakistan. BFP has distributed copies of 7 titles to date: The Farmer’s Wife, The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water, The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal, The Old Woman and the Eagle, The Boy Without a Name, Neem the Half-Boy, and The Silly Chicken.March, 2014
2006 | Hoopoe obtained approval for the Books for Afghanistan (BFA) program from the Ministry of Education in Kabul.
2009 | Hoopoe formed a partnership with the Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation in Kabul (KOR).
2011 | Hoopoe was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State to print and distribute throughout Afghanistan a total of 2,465,880 books. In the same year, the Hoopoe Books for Pakistan (BFP) program was initiated to replicate the BFA program in partnership with local NGOs.
2012 | Hoopoe held a three-month teacher training program implemented by an ISHK-Hoopoe trainer of six KOR-Hoopoe teacher training staff enabling Hoopoe to run twenty-two 5-day teacher training workshops for 389 teachers from Kabul, Mazar e Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad, Helmand, Kunar & Bamyan. In the same year, a set of six Hoopoe Books was distributed to every primary school student in the Bamyan and Zabul provinces of Afghanistan. Hoopoe Books and Teacher Guides were also distributed to children in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan with the help of implementing partners Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR), 19 PRTs and other Field Officers, 33 NGOs including the Asia Foundation who distributed 1.2 million books and 36,000 Teacher Guides.
BFA | In addition to requests from NGOs such as The Asia Foundation for 100,000 books for their Mobile Library program, Hoopoe has pending requests from The Ministry of Education in Kabul, to provide books, Teacher Guides and training for 52 schools serving a total of 145,086 children in the poorest most under-served areas of Kabul Province; and from the Bamyan Director of Education for books for 132,078 children in 338 schools in that province. Hoopoe also has new titles to print, and new requests for books from all over Afghanistan come in almost every week.
BFP | In partnership with the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Hoopoe’s BFP program seeks to print and distribute its ten titles to over one million disadvantaged children currently served by Alif Laila's extensive network of schools and mobile libraries. In addition, a project to develop a sustainable model that would replicate Hoopoe’s BFA program is planned in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The goal is to collaborate with six NGOs to encourage the development of higher level thinking skills and improve literacy in school children (grades K-6) and to improve teachers’ instructional skills in the areas of pre-literacy and literacy training, putting an end to the obsolete traditional method of rote learning. Advancement of the education of women in the region would be ensured by keeping at least 25 – 30 % female teachers in the total number of teachers to be trained and also make every effort to see that the distribution of books is done equally between both girls and boys.
Regional Expansion | In the future, Hoopoe Books seeks to expand its reach to Arabic-speaking countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Currently, the program is translating its first four titles and teacher guides to suit this audience.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Student Progress | In order to receive books and other learning materials from Hoopoe, recipients are asked to provide regular reporting and photos. All deliveries are documented and signed for by recipients and copies are sent to Hoopoe.
Teacher Progress | To date, the KOR-Hoopoe training staff has trained 550 teachers in 9 provinces, only curtailed by lack of funds. At the end of each training, participants provide evaluations. Class and individual student evaluation forms and strategies are provided for teachers in self-explanatory guides and are reviewed by Hoopoe staff in training workshops, enabling teachers to track individual and class progress.
Plans for Future Development | Because of the great demand for teacher trainings, Hoopoe is seeking funds to further develop a sustainable teacher training program using its own books and curricula. Initially, providing trainings at KOR's five Training Centers, graduates from the Hoopoe training programs would be selected to train others. They would be monitored and evaluated by Hoopoe staff in the field, until they were able to independently train teachers in their school and neighborhood. Such a pilot program would require defined M&E strategies and buy-in from Provincial MOEs some of whom have already expressed an interest. In addition, Hoopoe Books seeks to formally implement the BFA M&E strategy for its BFP program. It has planned teacher trainings in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area to create a sustainable model for the program.Standardized assessment performanceInternal assessment performanceUser satisfactionAbility to reach the poorTeacher retentionStudent retentionCost effectiveness/value for moneyYes