There are many organisations all across Africa working to empower children through reading. Listed below are some of the children’s literary organisations making an impact in Africa.
1.African Scholars Fund (South Africa)
The African Scholars’ Fund assists promising young school children from needy homes to complete their secondary school education through the provision of awards and guidance.
2.All Children Reading (Global)
All Children Reading, which was launched in 2011 advances EdTech research and innovation to improve reading outcomes for marginalised children in low-resource communities. They work in partnership with the Australian Government, USAID and World Vision. They believe that when appropriately applied, technology can instigate and advance child literacy around the globe. Furthermore, they also believe in the power of collaboration between many diverse partners (governments, for-profit and nonprofit organisations, foundations and others) to fast advance the progress of their goals.
The mission of Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project (BBALP) is to promote literacy among the African people by building well-equipped, modern and sustainable efficient libraries in Africa with the aim to bring the gift of ideas and education to Africa. BBALP is a non-profit, non-partisan international organisation headquartered in New York, USA with subsidiaries in Ghana, France, and Spain.
4.Book Aid International (Ghana)
This organisation, in a bid to break the cycle of poverty and help educate children through the provision of cupboard libraries well-stocked with 1,250 books of all genres to schools in Africa. Their activities go in line with Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 10.
5.Book Dash (South Africa)
This organisation specialises in the production and provision of free e-books that are downloadable.
6.Canada-Mathare Education Trust (Kenya)
This initiative is committed to a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive education program in Kenya through the provision of scholarships to secondary schools, professional development activities and support for post-secondary school. The Canada-Mathacare Education Trust places emphasis on the importance of giving back to society, implementation of an inclusive and equitable approach that responds to the needs and aspirations of the community, commitment to dismantling white supremacy in north-south partnerships and decolonization.
7.Children’s Book Project in Tanzania, works to improve literacy skills among school children and encourage a culture of reading in the country. It equips libraries with quality reading materials and supports the Tanzanian publishing industry to produce quality books for children and young people.
This organisation, located in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda is committed to the provision of refugee children.
This organisation works towards improving quality and accessible education for impoverished populations.
10.Education Matters (Zimbabwe)
Education Matters matches talent with opportunity, believes the youth hold the keys to the future, and helps motivated students who lack financial resources and information to better their educational futures thereby realising their dreams. This literary initiative was registered in Zimbabwe and works with students in high school to access international higher education through their programs.
This organisation provides accessible digital content for inclusive and quality education for all children.
The project is aimed at families as a means of addressing the low literacy achievement of many pre- and primary school children, and the lack of confidence of parents in their ability to provide support to these children. The family literacy approach supports both children and adults, since parents are the first and most important educators of children.
13.HAAPA Store is a digital content distribution platform from Africa focusing on African contents. Third-party publishers/ producers, storytellers or any person with digital content can create their own accounts, upload their own contents and distribute for free or for sale.
Happy Readers is a social enterprise that directly engages with teachers and pupils with the aim of improving children’s literacy levels. They run several literacy projects in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Happy Reader publishes books specifically developed to teach children how to read, provide schools with the requisite resources and run training workshops for teachers to further develop skills aimed at advancing literacy education. This initiative also offers monitoring and evaluation of literacy education in schools.
15.Help2Read (South Africa)
This is a non-profit organisation which focuses on literacy development and community strengthening through education and youth promotion.
16.Imagine Scholar (South Africa)
Imagine Scholar is based on the belief that there is an equal distribution of raw potential in every pocket of the world. Their mission is to equip young leaders with the integrity, skills, and mindsets they need to shape a world they can be proud of.
17.Kakenya’s Dream (Kenya)
The mission of this initiative: ‘investing in girls in rural Kenyan communities through educational, health and leadership initiatives to create agents of change’ says it all.
18.Kucetekela Foundation (Zambia)
Kucetekela Foundation (KF) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2006 that provides comprehensive scholarships which funds an excellent education at a private secondary school to academically promising but financially disadvantaged Zambian boys and girls. Kucetekela Foundation’s scholarships goes beyond covering tuition by extending to the provision of one-on-one mentoring, internships, community service, counselling, and support for tertiary education to students.
The Literacy for African Child Education and Development is a Not for Profit, Youth-Led Organisation born out of resilience and purpose to help children in low-income communities improve their reading and learning culture through literacy development for personal success and global peace.
20. Makomborero (Zimbabwe)
Makomborero is a UK registered charity that helps to relieve poverty in Zimbabwe, Africa through the education of children,
thereby giving them a great future. Makomborero gives these children hope by offering them the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Nal’ibali’s main mission is to encourage a culture of reading in South African homes and communities. Their aim is to use storytelling to improve literacy development. Translated from isiXhosa, Nal’ibali means “here’s the story,” and in a bid to live up to their name, storytelling is at the heart of all their activities. The organisation is known for their mobile ‘tuk tuk’ libraries which are driven around communities to deliver books to the doorsteps of readers.
22. Project Educate (Zambia)
Project Educate is a non-governmental organisation that helps to improve infrastructure and educational standards in Zambia.
23. Puku Foundation (South Africa)
This literacy initiative promotes reading and provides book assistance to children by ensuring access to quality, culturally relevant literature in all the South African languages.
24. Radical Books Collective is a literacy initiative which creates an inclusive, non-commercial and alternative approach to reading and books. They organise virtual events or seminars for book clubs, book and author events on radical, foundational books.
25. Rainbows4Children (Ethiopia)
Rainbows4children is an independent foundation set up to break the cycle of poverty through the provision of education to disadvantaged children in Ethiopia–primarily the children of adults living with disabilities such as loss of limbs and blindness.
26. Read to Rise (South Africa)
This non-profit organisation is committed to the promotion of youth literacy in under-resourced communities in South Africa.
27. Room to Read (South Africa) – partners with schools, communities and the South African Department of Basic Education to give comprehensive education in local languages. They also provide high functioning and well-equipped libraries in a bid to make a lasting impact by ending poverty and racial inequality.
This is an organisation by Rwandan publishers advocating for the expansion of the children’s publishing industry in Rwanda by challenging book policies, increasing the capacity to develop local stories, and to grow the use of Rwandan-published children’s books across the country. It was established in 2015. RCBO also hosts events and initiatives to help promote reading and writing in Rwanda.
29. Rwanda Girls Initiative (Rwanda)
This initiative focuses on providing bright young Rwandan girls with opportunities to learn, grow, and lead both inside and outside the classroom, through the Gashora Girls Academy, to enable them to become the future change-makers that our world needs.
30. The Book Bus (Malawi & Zambia)
The Book Bus, which was established in 2008 has been working to improve literacy through storytelling, providing books, materials, and libraries for children and teachers not only in Africa but also in Ecuador and South America.
31. The School of St. Jude (Tanzania)
The School of St. Jude started in 2002 to offer free, quality education to children living in poverty. The school is a pioneering leader in charitable education within Africa.
32. The Talking Book (Malawi)
This is a project initiated by ILC Africa, which aims at improving literacy among pre-primary children in rural Malawi by introducing 400 Talking Books to 50 Early Childhood Education centres in Malawi to develop pre-literacy skills in children ages 4-6 years old. The Talking Book is a sustainable and durable battery-powered audio device that can deliver hours of content in rural areas, allowing students and families to listen and learn together. The project works by adapting Malawi’s Early Childhood Development Curriculum into individual lessons, which are then uploaded to the Talking Books. The project won prizes from the Ready2Read Challenge of All Children Reading.
33. WAAW Foundation (Nigeria)
This organisation is focused on mentoring girls in STEM education in Africa.
34. Windle Trust International (South Sudan, Sudan, and the East Africa region)
Windle Trust International is dedicated to increasing access to and improving the quality of education across the breadth of the education sector, from primary schools to the tertiary sector
35. World Literacy Foundation (Global)
The World Literacy Foundation is a global non-profit organisation striving to ensure that every child has the opportunity to acquire literacy skills and books to reach their full potential, regardless of geographic location.
Dear reader, do you know of other literacy initiatives which are not covered by this list?
Kindly post your comments to help keep the list up to date.