Community media are backing the children of South Africa. Five radio stations across rural Eastern Cape
and Kwa-Zulu Natal have signed up to promote storytelling and to build children’s literacy in collaboration with Nal’ibali,
South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign. Nal’ibali has a dream of giving all children in South Africa access to stories in their home langauges.
It’s a dream that is slowly becoming a reality, thanks in part to their ‘Story Powered Schools’ initiative,
made possible by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education.
Launched in 2017 in the districts of Ugu and Uthukela in KwaZulu-Natal, and Maluti and Mbizana in the Eastern Cape,
the project has worked with 720 schools over the past three years.
2018 saw schools from iLembe and Umgungundlovu in KwaZulu-Natal, and Mt. Ayliff and Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape participate, and this year, because of high demand and good working relationships,
the project returns to its original districts, to work with a new group of schools. And now, with the support of Radio Sunny South, ‘Nquebeko Community Radio, Alfred Nzo Community Radio,
Sajonisi Youth Radio and The Voice of Matat, Nali’bali’s story reach will be amplified even further into these communities with stations broadcasting children’s story time, interviewing literacy mentors, spreading messages of events and offering tips for reading at home.
Committed to broadcasting chidren’s stories twice every weekday and to hosting a Saturday morning show discussing literacy tips,
the Station Manager of Radio Sunny South, Mr Nhlanhla Gcaleka had this to say: “Radio Sunny South is fully on board with Nal'ibali’s Story Power initiative.
We see our role as amplifying the voices in our community and children are often the last to be heard. Offering programming that speaks to children, in langauges they love and with content they’re excited about, builds our communities and our audiences.”
Nal’ibali is showing its appreciation by giving a mobile mini-library to each station, stocked with storybooks that children can come in and enjoy.
They will also offer training to enable presenters to craft their own children’s radio shows in the future.
Community radio and newspapers are powerful and play a vital role giving children access to stories, in rural areas where book resources are minimal
and joining in to support their community’s literacy development is Ugu Eyethu from Ugu District and The Informer community newspaper from Matatiele.
“This partnership proves that story power comes from people power!” says Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director of Nal’ibali.
“With community media on board, we will reach thousands more children, teachers and story lovers across the country.
Improved literacy is linked to improved school performance and job opportunities, and we are excited to see how this story ends!”
Story Powered Schools is a Nal’ibali initiative endorsed by the Department of Basic Education and made possible
by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Story Powered Schools aims to spark learners’ potential
and unlock their school success through reading and storytelling by placing stories at the heart of classrooms and schools.