Parents can now explain to their children what COVID-19 is and how it is prevented in a way their children can easily understand, just by reading them a book.
A non-profit organization, NABU, has launched a children’s book called ‘BINGWA WA KUZUIA VIRUSI‘ The virus stopping champion written and illustrated by local creatives, that will help children understand and even know how to avoid getting COVID-19.
Speaking during the launch of nabu.org, a free reading platform which houses the book, NABU Executive Director Tanyella Evans said that with an estimated 18 million Kenyan children at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to books like BINGWA WA KUZUIA VIRUSI and other engaging stories, written both in Swahili and English, will help increase their literacy skills.
“Research shows that children who have access to books in their mother tongue at an early age make the bridge in reading English and other languages,” said NABU Executive Director Tanyella Evans. “We want to share beautiful, engaging stories where children can see themselves reflected in the pages, so they grow up to be confident readers.”
The organization aims to distribute over 150 free Swahili books in the coming months, ranging from early readers to independent readers. The free app also hosts over 1,000 children’s books in English, French, Kinyarwanda and Lingala.
According to NABU Kenya Program Manager Bery Oywer, the app contains culturally relevant stories written by local writers hence giving a platform to local creatives to showcase their work.
“Local illustrators and authors who want their work to be featured in NABU can get in touch through the app which has an option of creating content or also just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,” she said.
It also gives local creatives a chance to receive world-class training, global exposure and earn a living by leveraging technology.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Julius Otundo, an Educationist who teaches as\t Riara University said apps like NABU will help increase children’s literacy skills.
“We have underscored literacy in African countries while literacy is very important,” said Dr. Otundo.
“As our children progress and learn, we have to ensure that their literacy level is very high, we have to unlock their literacy skills as early as possible,” he added.
The books mainly focus on early grade learners i.e. grade one to three.
“With the rise in internet penetration and access to smartphones in Kenya, children have been exposed to technology and are more likely to grow into autonomous and successful technology users. Access to reading materials will provide children with the basic skills in which they will acquire competency in order to be successful in school and develop skills critical for higher order thinking,” Said NABU Kenya Program Manager Beryl Oywer.
The app is available for both Android and iOS.