The One Book, One Community campaign will host a three-day book fair from April 8 to 10 in Poipet town of Banteay Meanchey province, after which the campaign will continue to other locations with a mission to promote reading culture and independent learning.

The One Book, One Community campaign is a project designed to promote reading to young people in Cambodia through five activities: Reading competitions, book distribution, mobile libraries, library development and book fairs. It was first announced in Kampong Speu in February 2023, while the 25-month project is scheduled to end in January 2025.

Sok Lak, co-founder of the Intellectual Library and co-founder of the One Book, One Community project, told The Post that it will continue to move forward with the mission of promoting reading culture and independent learning.

He added that the campaign will organize a three-day book fair from April 8 to 10 at Elegant International School in Poipet town.

“The three-day book fair will have 50 booths, including book and food stalls, as well as many other local products, and will run from 8am to 7pm. It is the next step after we completed the One Book, One Community campaign in Kampong Speu province,” he said.

Men Makkley, co-founder of Banteay Meanchey-based Bannalai Samram or library of waste, also co-organized the event. He told The Post that the book fair in Banteay Meanchey will help promote reading to people in the province, especially young people in Poipet, to let them know about the benefits of reading.

“This is a program that can cultivate reading habits in Cambodia… We will do more publicity, including submitting letters to the relevant authorities in the province, so that the programme can run smoothly and have more participation,” he said.

Makkley said that at the same time, the team will approach select candidates who are interested in participating in the reading competition on behalf of Banteay Meanchey province at the national championship competition.

The One Book, One Community Campaign project said in February that its project would help encourage institutions to embrace a culture of reading and knowledge in their operations, while 25,000 books and 25 libraries are expected to be provided to between 50,000 and 70,000 readers in the capital and all 24 provinces.

According to the 2014 Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey, Cambodia has the second lowest literacy rate in ASEAN after Laos, and about 29 per cent of the population lacks basic reading and writing skills. The findings of the National Youth Development Council (NYDC 2021) also show that, in Cambodia, 71 per cent of young people do not have a complete formal education.