LUTTER CONTRE L’ISOLEMENT CULTUREL ET LE MANQUE D’INFORMATION GRÂCE À UN NOUVEAU
CONCEPT DE BIBLIOTHÈQUE EN KIT
Grâce à l’IDEAS BOX, « la bibliothèque du 21e siècle » sur mesure, prête à l’emploi et transportable, Jeremy Lachal sort les populations vulnérables de leur isolement en adaptant son contenu à leurs besoins (pays en voie de développement, en situation de crise humanitaire ou zones sensibles des pays développés). En améliorant l’accès à l’information, à la culture, en renforçant l’éducation et en stimulant la créativité, il permet à ces personnes vulnérables de se sentir citoyens à part entière.
Retrouvez la présentation de Jérémy Lachal lors des Ashoka Talks 2015
Les populations défavorisées sont celles qui ont le moins accès à une information de qualité, à Internet ou à des outils de formation. Les bibliothèques sont un levier majeur pour renforcer l’autonomie et le lien social. Pourtant elles sont souvent isolées, manquent de moyens et ne se voient pas comme actrices de transformation sociale. Jérémy soutient les bibliothèques dans le monde et en crée là où elles ne sont pas, et modernise le concept de bibliothèque en créant un espace sécurisé de créativité, d’apprentissage, de formation, et de lien social. L’IDEAS BOX est un espace de 100m², ouvrable en 20 minutes et facilement transportable, dont le contenu s’adapte aux besoins (ordinateurs, livres...) des populations visées (pays en développement, en situation de crise humanitaire ou zones sensibles des pays développés). Il contribue à renforcer l’importance de l’accès à l’éducation et l’information dans les agendas politiques par de la sensibilisation et du lobbying.
70 Ideas Box sont déployées dans des contextes divers (camps de réfugiés au Burundi, Liban ou encore Ethiopie, banlieues et zones rurales françaises et américaines, populations aborigènes en Australie…) et ont accueilli depuis 2015 plus de 400 000 visites dans le monde. BSF avec la campagne “Urgence de lire”, mobilisant plus de 100 intellectuels à l’international dont 9 Prix Nobel, vise à changer les lignes directrices de l’action humanitaire pour mieux prendre en compte les dimensions culturelles et éducatives dans les crises. En France, BSF a obtenu des avancées significatives pour des horaires d’ouverture plus larges des bibliothèques.
QUI EST-IL ?
Adolescent, Jérémy s’implique dans le conseil de jeunesse de sa région. Diplômé de Sciences Po Paris, il se spécialise en droit et développement international et co-fonde Bibliothèques Sans Frontières en 2007.
Jérémy has packaged an entire library into a customizable multimedia toolbox, called the IDEAS Box, that meets international freight standards and can be both easily shipped to remote areas and assembled in record time. His solution enables disadvantaged populations to connect to the world, learn, play and create. Once deployed, the IDEAS Box becomes a real physical space full of content and tools adapted to the local context in order to strengthen education, help people look to the future, reconnect separated families, prevent rumors and propaganda, and strengthen resiliency. IDEAS Boxes are connected to each other through the Internet where communities can access new tools and content uploaded by other IDEAS Box users, or by Libraries Without Borders. IDEAS Boxes have already been installed in refugee camps in Burundi, receiving thousands of visitors over the first months, and already proving their positive impact in terms of education quality, child protection and the strengthening of social links.
To scale his model, Jeremy has created a new profession: ‘cultural entrepreneur’. He is now building and relying on a network of ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ – local people empowered to launch their own library or transform existing cultural spaces to create virtuous socio-economic dynamics around it - to spread the model across the globe. Jérémy is also finding creative ways to replicate his approach, beginning with France, to different contexts and geographies, including developed countries facing challenges related to democratizing access to information and culture for particularly isolated and marginalized groups.
Traditional libraries, cultural centers or community places, when they exist, do not play the gatekeeper role they should be playing. They were designed for a pre-digital world, offer inadequate content (for example, the library ecosystem in francophone Africa suffers from the French influence – ignoring local culture and diversity of dialects), and are mostly disconnected from the surrounding community. In developing countries, a vast majority of libraries are only referencing a poor range of outdated books and materials. In developed countries, a set of symbolic, practical and financial reasons refrain the most underprivileged populations to actively use the services offered by public libraries.
While good quality and lifelong education appears fundamental to build democratic societies, at-risk populations lack the spaces to access open, transversal, cross-generational education or reinforce social bonds and community sense between people. And if many studies show that libraries and cultural centers bring sustainable social impact and high returns on investments, their traditional business models – mostly based on public subsidies – increasingly show their limits. Libraries in the 21st Century need to be physical spaces that create a sense of ownership within the communities they serve and are strongly linked to the local economic fabric, with a sustainable business model.
Jeremy now streamlines the spread of his approach through the Ideas Box, a flat-pack multimedia library that can easily be integrated to a wide variety of contexts, from complex emergency situations to long-existing deprived areas in developed countries. This standardized, transportable, robust and self-sufficient device includes a variety of educational and entertainment content that provides tools so that the users can produce their own resources and shape the Box to their own needs. The IDEAS Box provides content for the population to connect, learn, play and create, including an Internet connection, digital equipment such as tablets and laptops, paper books and e-books, pre-installed educational content and apps like Wikipedia and the Khan Academy, a TV and video projector with 100 documentaries and film, Board and videogames, a built-in stage for theatrical representation, hand-held cameras and video software, etc. For each deployment, the LWB team works in direct contact with in-country partners in order to identify the exact content and equipment that correspond to the needs and the expectations of the population (language, culture, geographical context, etc.). A first study has already demonstrated LWB’s positive impact on child protection, education quality, and resilience. The first two Ideas Boxes, which have developed in Congolese refugee camps in Burundi in February 2014, have reached 24000 beneficiaries in only 3 months, and new Ideas Boxes will be deployed in other camps in Burundi, Jordan and Lebanon. IDEAS Boxes generate immense interest from International organizations, public authorities and entrepreneurs all around the world: pilot projects will be implemented in deprived areas in France and Australia in the coming months, and a total 100 Ideas Box should be deployed in 2015.
Jérémy is now broadening LWB’s scope of action to reach everyone who is excluded from education, culture and information, whether refugees, homeless people, prisoners, at-risk women, and others. To do so, Jérémy facilitates the emergence of a new generation of ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ with the necessary knowledge, confidence and skills to create lasting, community-rooted, innovative and impactful cultural centers in the areas where they are most needed, in developing and developed countries. Building on LWB’s ground experience in cultivating such cultural entrepreneurs, Jérémy creates an international (India, the Philippines, Colombia, Ecuador, etc.) citizen-based community of helpers to creatively ‘hack’ IDEAS Boxes and explore new sustainable business models for the spread of the model locally.
Furthermore, Jeremy places access to information and culture at the forefront of the political agenda by combining LWB’s groundwork with effective advocacy campaigns, at the national and international levels. For example, LWB recently raised awareness about the need to better address the intellectual component of populations in humanitarian situations via the ‘Urgency of reading’ campaign, which mobilized more than 4000 people - including 9 Nobel Prizes. LWB also recently passed an amendment in the last French economy bill that will enable libraries to be open during evening and weekends.
With a deep interest in the work of renowned historian and political specialist Patrick Weil, Jeremy applied to be a research assistant but finally accepted a job at the French National Assembly. Right after finishing his studies, Jérémy co-founded Libraries Without Borders with Patrick Weil, following a very simple idea: while 80 million books are thrown away every year in France, students are lacking educational resources. Patrick Weil’s initial idea was similar to a traditional ‘book-giving’ program. However, numerous reports showed the inefficiency of ‘book-giving’ programs that create dependency situations and are mostly ill adapted to the needs of local populations. Jérémy thus reshaped the LWB’s model to its current form: creating toolboxes for local communities to imagine their own libraries. Libraries would become endogenous development levers and strengthen autonomy of local populations. LWB now has activities in over 20 countries, including revenue-generating activities in countries and continents like Haiti, Africa and Europe.