Footsteps online


by Georgina Orchard

In 2002 we did a survey of Footsteps readership and learned valuable information about who is reading Footsteps and what they are using it for. We found that each copy has a wide impact. Most copies are shared with at least one other person, and a third are used regularly to train groups of up to 100 people. There is a full article on the survey in issue 50 of Footsteps (March 2002).  

Sharing Footsteps also helps to reduce its environmental footprint and its cost. As Tearfund is committed to doing this, in 2009 we have taken a look at the reader­ship of Footsteps again. 

Many readers will know that in the UK, Footsteps is printed on recycled paper. Another way to reduce its environmental footprint is to encourage those with email and internet access to read it online. While many parts of the world still have limited, unreliable or no internet access, it is evident from our survey that in other areas access to the internet is improving and growing.

Here are some of the facts that we found about today’s Footsteps readers in our 2009 survey:

  • Readership of Footsteps makes up two-thirds of the readership of Tearfund’s international publications.
  • In India, there are 10,000 subscribers to the English edition of Footsteps, and over 500 subscribers to the Hindi edition.
  • Past issues of Footsteps are frequently read on the internet.
  • Footsteps is most often read in Spanish.
  • Two-thirds of Footsteps readership is through the internet or email (e footsteps).
  • In 2009, fewer paper copies are being read in the North (7 per cent) than in 2003 (10 per cent).

The findings suggest that internet access is growing. The statistics in the boxes show that this is due mostly to improved access in South America where Spanish and Portuguese are mainly spoken. It is possible that continued high demand for paper copies of Footsteps in French and English is linked to weaker internet access in Africa, where these languages are widely spoken.

As concern about the impact of climate change continues to grow, we encourage readers with internet access to switch to reading Footsteps online where possible. If you are able to do this please write to us at to let us know. Alternatively you can go directly online to tilz, the Tearfund International Learning Zone, at and sign up for e-footsteps. When doing this, please indicate that you want your paper copy subscription to stop.

In addition to the information about the languages shown, we have records of translations of Footsteps in up to 47 local languages. This is encouraging, as such translations broaden access to the information in Footsteps to those who do not speak a European language. The 2002 readership survey indicated that up to 45 per cent of readers translate Footsteps into at least one other language. If you know anything about the availability and distribution of local language copies of Footsteps, please write and tell us.

We are always interested to learn more about the readership of Footsteps, so please continue to send in your feedback.

Georgina Orchard is Tearfund’s International Publications Officer.

Popular pages

The two most popular Footsteps pages are:

  • Dinámicas grupales útiles, Paso a Paso 60 (Useful energisers, Spanish edition of Footsteps 60)
  • Fantoches – Como Fazer e Usar, Passo a Passo 23 (Puppets – How to make and use them, Portuguese edition of Footsteps 23)

Both of these pages have been viewed on tilz more than 130,000 times each.