17 November 2020

How Soma facilitated a project where children are creating openly licensed reading material for other children

I’m fascinated by the simple notion of children authoring stories for other children to read and enjoy – it makes so much sense. In its project, Soma Book Café, went one step further. The four children whose stories were selected by judges consisting of other children and adults worked with published authors, illustrators, designers, and other book professionals to turn their ideas and words into a professional product in print and online. Putting these ideas into practise proved to be a lot more complex than envisaged; delivering thought-provoking learnings to the adults who took on the challenge.

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15 September 2020

Pratham Books, Room to Read and Book Dash are among the international winners of the USA’s Library of Congress’ Literacy Awards Program

These non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which have innovatively adopted open licensing publishing and distribution models and that specialize in solving early literacy challenges in developing nations, were selected along with a list of other initiatives, ‘for their exemplary work in ensuring that children continue to build critical literacy skills.’

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27 July 2020

Early literacy and Leblango: A fascinating learning journey for Uganda’s Mango Tree Literacy Lab

Early literacy is universally acknowledged to be critical when it comes to the education and development of our children, and their life-long learning. But even in countries where the home language is not a Western language, early literacy teaching is not in that language. This is unfortunate as research shows that children learn to read more effectively if they learn in their mother tongue. Since its inception in 2010, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Lira, Uganda, the Mango Tree Literacy Lab (MTLL), has worked hard to address this, and to realize their belief that African children have the right to read, write and engage with ideas in a language they know and understand.

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01 July 2020

Little scribes with big stories: Tanzania’s Soma Book Cafe introduces its youngest authors

Kalamu Ndogo (Little Scribes) is a new book series written by children for children under the auspices of the Soma Book Café Watoto na Vitabu (Children and Books) storytelling hub and Saturday children’s programme. This is a space for children between the ages of six and 13 to hone their reading and storytelling skills. The series is a product of experimental work on how to facilitate children to research and write original stories inspired by Tanzanian storytelling traditions. These stories are also informed by how the children experience contemporary realities and their aspirations beyond the here and now.

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01 June 2020

A Book Dash with a difference: How three open-source books were created in one day during the National lockdown

As part of their efforts to ensure that every child should own 100 books before the age of five, South African non-profit organization (NPO), Book Dash, recently did a remarkable thing: It created, published and distributed three new books during the national lockdown.

The organization gathered two teams of creative professionals who volunteered to pilot this new virtual Book Dash. Then, making the most of their learning from the past 14 physical events, Book Dash successfully replicated the experience online, with some adjustments.

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