By Raisa Okwaras
Cadbury on Friday, July 8, 2022, launched a digital library full of children’s books entailing African stories to boost the reading culture of African children by reading books that reflect their truths.
Dubbed #inourownhands, the campaign brought together authors from different parts of the African continent. They teamed up to publish a beautiful collection of thirty African stories in English, Kiswahili, and French.
The campaign was brought to life after the holding company of Cadbury East Africa Mondelez International discovered from a recent poll that African parents experience trouble finding content that reflects the realities of their children. Also, a recent survey shows that two in three African parents claim that the available children’s books fail to offer a truthful representation of the continent. Yet, Africa is known globally as a continent of storytellers.
During the launch, Category Brand Manager of Chocolates CEA Mondelez International Lorna Kamemba stated that by empowering African children to succeed through the promotion of a reading culture, they are demonstrating their commitment to generosity plus a genuine desire to improve lives. According to her, they are doing so by spearheading the publication of children’s books that reflect their realities in Africa.
According to award-winning author and publisher of children’s books Ng’ang’a Mbugua, children get to love reading once they see themselves in the stories they are reading. This helps them relate to these stories and even become better storytellers by being in tune with their realities.
“The stories we unveil today are very culturally relevant to our children because they can easily see themselves in the stories. We need to be intentional about producing stories with characters our children can easily relate to if we are to entrench a reading culture in Kenya,” said Ng’ang’a.
The #inourownhands campaign was the first phase of a long-term campaign dubbed ‘Read to Succeed’, which aims to promote a reading culture in African children by creating Africa’s first user-generated library containing children’s stories in the African context. With that, Cadbury partnered with the publishing company Sisi Africa to publish one hundred and fifty original storybooks.
Out of the thirty books already published, twenty-two is in English, five are in French, and three are in Kiswahili. Also, Cadbury has issued a call for submissions that will see thirty more stories published in the next phase.
To participate, purchase any of the story edition packs by Cadbury, scan the QR code, then visit the website and share their homegrown stories.