Third Chapter Project Update: May 2020

As anyone who has ever tried to help another can tell you, your assistance will only be helpful if the need and the solution match up. You cannot give a 10-year-old child a car when what they need is a ride. This holds true for nonprofits as well. As we work toward the establishment of Third Chapter in Africa, it is vital that we listen to the community that we hope to serve. To that end, here are the steps we are taking to hear this voice at Third Chapter:

  1. We reached out to a cohort of mostly ACLS Fellows involved in the African Humanities Project through their network website and invited them to take a short survey. The goal was to gain insights into the conditions these scholars were facing. What we discovered after the data was analyzed was that almost 80% of our respondents reported they did not have access to the basic material needed to complete their work. We heard things like: 
    • “(we need) recent publications from Africa: Many of these publications are not available in Ghana and so I have to rely on trips abroad to purchase them or get friends (to buy them)”
    • “Folk Music collections of other African Countries, they are not within reach”
    • “If I want to stay up to date on scholarship and participate in contemporary debates, I need to buy books myself…”
    • “…not available because they are expensive to subscribe to and Music Education is not valued as much by my university.”

2. We added Lala Pop to head up our African Studies Advisory Committee. Ms. Pop tapped into her 12 years of experience working with the African Humanities Project in Africa to create an incredibly deep roster of 13 scholars from different countries with diverse experiences. 

3. Most recently, we welcomed Dr Tobeho Moja to the Third Chapter board. Dr. Moja is a visiting professor at NYU. Her background includes time at the University of Oslo and the University of Tampere, as well as several universities in her homeland of South Africa. She has been instrumental in the formation of the Center of Higher Education Transformation in South Africa and has served on boards of international organizations examining and researching education policy. Dr. Moja was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the position of Executive Director and Commissioner at the National Commission on Higher Education. She has written extensively on Education policy and politics in Africa within a global context. All of us at Third Chapter are thrilled that Dr. Moja will be able to help guide the future direction of our organization.   

We are excited to be building Third Chapter with the knowledge that we are providing the resources requested by the community, rather than what so many in the developed nations think they need. This helps to tie together the symbolism of our logo… the light shining from within… outward.

Third Chapter 2020 Spring Update

Education = Freedom

As we all shelter in place and learn to adapt to our new normal, we here at The Third Chapter Project hope that you are all safe and healthy. We also want to thank everyone who is still working because they are truly essential.

The following is an introduction to Third Chapter Project and the inspiration behind its founding. 


Education in Sub-Saharan Africa has a complicated history. From the days of colonial rule to today’s patchwork of educational inequities, the African education system has tried to serve the needs of the few and failed to meet the needs of the many. Sub-Saharan Africa has a combined population of approximately 1.2 billon with a 64% illiteracy rate, which represents close to 20% of the worlds illiterate. If you look at the Gross Enrollment Ratio and compare it to other developing nations and then contrast it with Europe and North America, you can see the magnitude of the problem. Only 3% of age appropriate Africans are enrolled in post-secondary education, 11.3% for other developing nations and a whopping 70% in the developed nations. (UIN Global Education Digest 2010)

That is why we, the former ACLS Humanities E Book team, have formed The Third Chapter Project, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Our mission is,

To facilitate and improve access to and support digital scholarly communication predominately in the social sciences and humanities to underserved academic communities in selected regions of developing nations including the Global South.

There are many agencies, corporations and foundations addressing the problem from many different angles and frankly, it still is not enough. Third Chapter is focused on providing digital content and scholarship in the humanities and social science to a community that is inadequately supplied and resource strapped. How we differ from others in the field is in our approach to the problem. We look to be the bridge between publishers and the needs of the students/scholars. We are a grant funded resource for the university at the same time we are developing future markets for publishers. 

We here at Third Chapter hoped to be in Africa visiting universities and schools but because travel is now delayed by a few months, we have been working on building our structure and relationships. Our website will now have an Amazon link to print versions of a curated collection of African Studies titles. The first phase will have 280 books that were recommended by scholars and societies. Currently, we have a few titles live, but will be adding to this list as more content becomes available and we hope to develop independent relationships with the different Presses themselves. Please visit https://www.thirdchapter.org/bookstore/

We would love to connect with you, visit our Contact page to drop a note or ask us any questions!