Finalist category: Education Award
Education Award, Winner, 2021
The Maker is a freely available, easy-to-use App which enables adults and children to create, publish and share their own storybooks in a language of their choice. Once downloaded, the App, can be used offline, making it suitable for use in environments where connectivity and electricity supply is constrained.
The Maker is the latest addition of African Storybook (ASb). Launched in 2014, ASb, with its platform of over 2 000 unique openly licensed storybooks, is a ground-breaking initiative of Saide responding to the deprivation experienced by most African children in not having the opportunity to learn to read in their own languages.
To support the Maker, the ASb team has put together a Guide comprising a collection of tried and tested methods used to create storybooks with children for children. To promote early grade reading and literacy, the Guide also offers support to teachers by providing strategies for encouraging the integration of storytelling, reading and writing into literacy lessons.
Children, teachers and other adults in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana and Benin have all shown great excitement in using the App to create and publish their own stories in the languages of their choice.
They are fascinated by the ease with which they match text with images of their choice to create a storybook about a topic of their choice that is immediately available to see.
The Maker offers children the possibility of using technology to boost interest in their own literacy development supported by teachers and librarians. It has also proved invaluable for vulnerable groups of children who want to create and publish stories that represent their experiences.
The Maker has proved to be a great tool for organisations working with communities whose languages are marginalised to use to create and publish storybooks.