Book Launch Press Release


Date: 3rd April 2012 

In 2011, Nikki and Rob Wilson embarked on a journey of a lifetime from Cape Town to Cairo. No ordinary adventure, the couple travelled through 11 countries with one key mission: to find exceptional social entrepreneurs who are transforming Africa.

Having written a popular blog throughout their trip, Nikki and Rob have now jointly authored a book called On the Up. On 2nd April 2012, the pair attracted an audience of 200 people to the Royal Commonwealth Society in central London to mark its launch. Joined by seven of the social entrepreneurs featured in On the Up, the evening included inspirational stories from extraordinary individuals running a diverse range of projects right across the continent of Africa.

Coming from a charity background themselves, Nikki and Rob are trying to shake up people’s pre-conceptions about charity work and counterbalance the bad press that Africa often receives. Drawing from their experiences across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Egypt, they have created On the Up as a collection of short stories about entrepreneurial solutions to social and environmental challenges.

On the Up’s stories stretch across all causes and whatever your interest area, age or take on life, you’re sure to find a story which leaves you inspired. The book includes a Buddhist who is training rats to sniff out landmines; an ex-child soldier who uses his rap star status to change lives; a gap year student who now works on death row; and a mum and dad duo who are working with Coca-Cola to distribute medical aid.

Nikki Wilson commented: “In every country we travelled through we uncovered innovative projects run by such inspiring individuals. Unlike the major international charities, these people rarely gain the limelight. Yet they are part of a movement of committed social entrepreneurs driving change not just within Africa, but right across the globe.”

Thought-provoking, moving and often quite hilarious, On the Up challenges you to think about your own role in driving change and encourages you to see that anything is possible. It showcases what it means to be a ‘social entrepreneur’ and also demonstrates that, despite its challenges, Africa is on the up.

On the Up was supported by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Vodafone Foundation. The book will be sold for profit but 20% of all proceeds will be donated back to the projects profiled.

- ENDS –

Notes for Editors…

General information:

On the Up is available to buy from 3rd April (£14.99 + shipping). We are selling exclusively through the amazing on-line book seller Better World Books:

The website features all stories included in the book, as well as videos and a list of resources for those interested in driving change:

You can follow the project on facebook:


More about the authors:

Rob & Nikki Wilson co-founded READ International in 2004 – a student-led charity which collects books from UK schools, sorts them and sends the most relevant, up-to-date, and high quality to schools in Tanzania and Uganda. Any books collected not appropriate to send are sold online or recycled to generate funding.

READ now has close to 1,000 student volunteers involved across the UK.  To date they have sent over 1,000,000 books to East Africa, benefiting millions of school children. READ also delivers school workshops to  British school children about global citizenship and social entrepreneurship. Ever since its inception, READ’s success has shocked Nikki and Rob and brought with it incredible accolades including ‘Best New UK Charity in 2007’ and ‘Best International Aid and Development Charity in 2010’.

Rob is also the founder of NoPC, an IT social enterprise aiming to provide affordable, low power and low maintenance computer technology to schools across the developing world.   For his work with READ and NoPC, Rob has been recognised as Enterprising Young Brit 2010 and a Beacon Fellow 2010 for Young Philanthropist of the Year. Since coming back from his Cape to Cairo experience, Rob now works for Ashoka (, an organisation supporting the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.

Nikki started her career after university at Cancer Research UK, the UK’s largest charity, where she worked in a range of fundraising roles, from Strategy Planning to Community Fundraising, Direct Marketing and Retail. Since coming back from Africa, she’s decided to work for an organisation at the smaller end of the charity spectrum. She’s currently heading up the UK division of Wings for Life, a charity funding research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury.

Photos and Videos available on request

For more information contact:

Rob Wilson