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The Nal’ibali reading campaign has joined forces with South African based social networking platform Mxit to launch an app aimed at better distributing children’s stories together with literacy tips across the country.
Mainly driven by PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education) and Times Media, Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) was launched in 2012 with a mission to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.
The partnership with Mxit Reach allows anyone with a mobile handset — including feature phones — to help share stories, literacy tips and support with children in their mother tongues.
The app offers a story library which includes audio stories, literacy quizzes, as well as a virtual reading club section. Going forward the app hopes to further add a multilingual rhyme library for young children, as well as an ‘Ask the Experts’ feature.
Maru Van Der Merwe, Mxit Reach Project Manager for the app further explains the significance the technology brings to the Nal’ibali initiative. “By using push technology we can help remind or prompt users to share a story or story activity with their children — important for the Nal’ibali campaign given that it’s regular encounters with text and stories that promotes literacy development in kids. Users also have the opportunity to earn points and rewards by completing stories, submitting reviews and answering monthly polls to further encourage regular engagement with the content.”
According to the press release, reports show that 51% of homes in the country don’t have access to leisure books and 85% of the population lives beyond the reach of a public library.
“What most South Africans do have, is a cellphone, with mobile penetration now over 100% in the country,” continues Bloch. “By harnessing this tidal wave of mobile communication technology use in our country, we hope to get even more adults reading and enjoying stories with their children so it becomes part of their daily lives.”
“With already 60 000 subscribers to their app, we look forward to now engaging and motivating these users to make regular use of the content so as to drive and support behaviour change when it comes to their family reading habits,” adds Andrew Rudge, CEO of Mxit Reach which aims to inspire and improve lives through the development of innovative and cost-effective solutions using the Mxit platform. “And, in that way, make a lasting contribution to the development of a reading culture in SA.” Rudge