To encourage book reading among children, Cadbury Dairy Milk has launched its latest campaign, #InOurOwnWords.
The campaign marks the first phase of a long-term initiative called Read To Succeed which aims to ignite a love for reading among Kenyan children by creating a library of enchanting children’s stories in a local context.
To achieve this, Cadbury Dairy Milk, in partnership with a publishing partner, Sisi Afrika, aims to publish 150 original storybooks working through the generous intent of Kenyans to help, by sharing their original Kenyan tales which will then be turned into books for kids to fall in love with.
Cultivating a culture of reading
“In a world where wide reading is often a prerequisite for success, it is important that we condition our children to start reading from an early age,” notes Edward Nderitu, Country Manager for Cadbury East Africa.
According to Nderitu, reading makes a world of difference to children’s future, and it is a collective responsibility to secure that future by donating stories to the campaign.
“Read to Succeed is anchored on our global generosity campaign and we are confident that the Kenyan spirit of generosity will see us deliver on our promise of giving more African stories to our children,” he adds.
A survey conducted by the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA), the industry lobby for publishers in 2016, described the state of the reading culture among children in Kenya as “troubling” and blamed it on poor language development among them.
“We urgently need to incorporate reading to our children and provide them with locally written books. This gives them an opportunity to read books that they can relate to and in return makes reading enjoyable,” says Kate Wanjira, an award-winning children’s book author.
“If children can see themselves in a story and read in a language, they easily understand they will most likely not see the act of reading as a foreign activity. It is imperative that we inculcate this culture while they are young. We also need to strengthen parental involvement as it will go a long way in enhancing the child’s literacy development.”
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the promotion of literacy among children in Africa faces many challenges which require more innovative solutions.
In Kenya, for instance, first languages are not part of the school curriculum, which promotes English and Swahili.
The UN body’s global education strategy calls for a new, more radical approach that focuses on enhanced learning to tackle the crisis.
Richard Oduor Oduku, CEO of Sisi Afrika notes that “Modern stories in diverse languages are important for children’s literacy, enjoyment and imagination. African writers and publishers working to increase the number of books and variety of titles, in different languages, suitable for different age groups, play an invaluable role.”
“In line with Cadbury’s strategic purpose to inspire a ‘little goodness’ in the world, we want to shift this paradigm by creating a platform where our children can read literature that tells their stories, in their own words. We’re excited about working with Sisi Afrika to edit, illustrate and transform stories into storybooks that Kenyan children can relate to, understand, enjoy and feel empowered by,” added Ms Kamemba.
To bring this campaign to life and drive the messaging, Cadbury has partnered with content creators like Biko Zulu, Janet Mbugua, Abigail Arunga, Shiko Nguru and Brian Ngatia among others.