Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Manthan 3.0 - Part 2

A year has passed by... and it was time to look back, pat ourselves on the back and then decide what we could do better this year. On a hot day in February, our teams from Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai converged at what we call 'Manthan' : an annual Pratham Books meeting.

We will post a series of blogposts to talk about what happened at Manthan 3.0. We hope that you, our community, can help us reach our goals and missions.

This is the second post in this series (Read the first one here). In pur first post, we were talking about our work and the team. In this post we will examine some of the ideas that ALL OF YOU have put forward. Please feel free to comment on the post and suggest more ways in which we can reach children.

We were live-tweeting during Manthan and also posted the following message on our Facebook account :

Our big questions and ideas: * Reach 7 million children this year. Impossible? Perhaps. * What is your wishlist for Pratham Books? What would you ideally like us to see do/make happen? * How do we know what the children we serve and the channels we use want in terms of content? We really do need to hear your thoughts ...if we're going to reach 7 million children this year.

Our friends on Facebook had this to say :

1. Libraries in orphanages and Govt.schools,night schools need to be targeted. Reading rooms, mobile libraries are needed as are people who could spare an hour for kids there to read out and create magic! - Rachna Chandra

2. Use local hospitals as a contact point and gift a brand new, gender appropriate & INSCRIBED book to each newborn. - Renu Pathak Miles

3. I think reading books clubs for kids would be a great idea specially in summers...mobile libraries, incentive programs for reading books etc would encourage children to read more.- Anagha Kalvade

4. I think books are something that can be used over and over again, and more people should come forward and donate books to schools, libraries, etc. It is worth exploring if community libraries like in western countries can be established. - Sandhya Lovekar

5. Can we get the children from the private schools involved in sharing their books with the community schools in the same area. Specially books which the kids have outgrown and don’t know what to do with them. I think the key here is an intermediary who would take that initiative…actually I wonder if it can be done at an individual level…..I mean I can put up a notice in my kids school and then go and ask the govt schools around if they would be interested in these books… what i mean is will that be a solution? - Sonali Pota

6. Reminds me of a book sharing programme in Chennai which works around the concept of an open library, I forget who it was that has started it. It is a community based programme in which people bring books that they have already used and pick up others that they want to. The books keep circulating in this way.- Sandhya Lovekar

Our friends on twitter were saying...

SojoVarughese said :
-I see school libraries lock books away from children. Can we tell schools books are to be read and not 2 be locked away?
- I hope you guys will seek help of volunteers from within the community to spread the word of reading :)
- Please let me know if you guys need any support in Mangalore.

flip_log said:
Anything we can do to expand on new channels - smartphones and social media.

mytoystoree said:
- Easy access. Mobile libraries with efficient high grade printers. On demand paper back printing?
She also sent us the following link for us to see : http://www.efrogger.org/bookm.html

A big thank you to the following folks who retweeted our tweets to their followers : @SojoVarughese , @mytoystoree, @flip_log, @Flipkartdotcom , @anita_lobo, @tulikabooks, @dialabook, @abhaga, @induviduality, @babylovesbooks, @bharathkeshava, @shwetagk, @blaftness.

Rashmi Singh sent us an email with some of her ideas:
- I think it would help a great deal if you guys have more tie-ups with booksellers in different cities, and when I say that I specifically mean smaller cities like Pune, Nagpur, Bhopal, Indore etc.
- I have observed that people in general don't know about Pratham books. So, we also need to increase our visibility and one good place to target are schools. Now, I'm not an expert here so I can't say what will work
and what will not. But, if we had printed fliers that we can mail to schools and if these can be put on school notice boards, it might help. For a better hit ratio, we can request people to volunteer to do this job for us. So, you can design a flier and people who want to volunteer can take printout of the flier and request their kids' schools to put them up on their notice boards.

A big thank you for all those who took time out to answer our queries, make suggestions and share their ideas. And a thank you in advance to all the people who are going to comment on this post :).

(Pssst: Did you see our 'Idea Quencher' in the picture? Feel free to comment on this post with your ideas or mail us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org. )

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