Developing local youth into changemakers through reading by Ashoka and Worldreader
As the world commemorates the International Day of the Girl Child on Monday, 11th October 2021, Ashoka and Worldreader are collaborating to launch the Ashoka Worldreader Changemaker Collection. This initiative was launched at an event held on the 9th of October 2021 at the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS).
The initiative aims to promote a reading culture in children and youth and inspire them to become changemakers in their communities by practising empathy for the good of all.
A key interest for both non-profit organizations is to have children and parents who appreciate reading. This will in turn, increase literacy skills and promote changemaking qualities among young people.
The collection will feature 20 fictional and true stories about children and youth who have made positive changes in their communities. The stories will be captured in English and translated into other languages including Kiswahili. These books will also have activities for parents and teachers.
The stories and activities will be designed to not only inspire and equip the reader to identify and solve a problem in their community, but also start them on a path of practising empathy.
One such book, published by Worldreader in collaboration with Ashoka features Rebecca, The Maasai Changemaker launched in Nairobi on Saturday (9th October 2021) at an event dubbed Books and Changemakers – Trace your reading and changemaking journey attended by teachers, parents, students and other players in the education sector.
Rebecca, The Maasai Changemaker is inspired by the true story of a young girl in Kenya who was alarmed by the signs of climate change in her community and proceeded to educate herself about the problem helping her galvanize her community and the government to take action.
The collection will be made available and promoted on all relevant Worldreader apps including the BookSmart App.
Speaking at the launch held at the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) Hekima Auditorium in Nairobi’s Community Library Branch, Worldreader Regional Director for East Africa Joan Mwachi-Amolo said her organization has been keen to promote digital learning and has rolled out the Keep Children Reading initiative to support learners with reading at household level.
“The Ashoka Worldreader Changemaker collection fits very well with our on-going work of promoting digital learning through the Keep Children Reading and our LEAP (Libraries, E-reading, Activities, Partnerships) initiative where we partnered with among others the KNLS to provide library patrons with instantaneous access to a supply of 600,000+ fiction, non-fiction, genre, reference books, storybooks, plus a complete set of Kenyan digital textbooks suitable for patrons of all ages”, said Mwachi-Amolo.
Ashoka’s Regional Director for East Africa, Vincent Otieno Odhiambo noted that the world was changing and there was a need to redefine success seeing that the young changemakers embodied the new skills needed to thrive. “Ashoka is keen to build a world where everyone is a changemaker through various initiatives and at the moment we are identifying, supporting and connecting young changemakers who are practicing changemaker skills, “ commented Odhiambo.
Odhiambo however regretted that despite the growing need for changemakers, some schools and parents were still stuck on the outdated ideas that one must necessarily learn a skill to be qualified for a job. “In today’s world, no one can build a life around repeating anything. One must learn to be a changemaker to make a valuable contribution in this world. This means that young changemakers must be the new norm for growing up. It is time for a big change,” he said.