eKitabu Wins Global Prize

eKitabu Selected as Winner of Global Prize Competition to Increase Access to Reading Materials for Children who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Driving Local Development of Born Accessible Titles in Kenya

As a Grand Prize Winner of the Book Boost: Access for All Challenge, eKitabu will help facilitate a transition to a sustainable, born accessible book chain in Kenya. Building on work with UNICEF’s Digital Accessible Textbook initiative making textbooks accessible for learners with disabilities, eKitabu will adapt local language books into accessible digital reading materials. We will publish a toolkit that provides content developers and publishers with resources to create new, born accessible, digital reading materials. eKitabu will also launch a Content Development Challenge with prizes for high quality, accessible new reading materials.

The Competition

In October 2017, the Book Boost: Access for All Challenge was launched with a global call for innovative business models rooted in optimizing and increasing the number of accessible books in the title development phase of the book value chain. After receiving proposals from eight countries, ACR GCD, Pearson, and Project Literacy convened a panel of experts to judge the merits of each proposal. On April 4, 2018, it was announced the eKitabu and SIL LEAD were the winners of the challenge, and both organizations will receive seed funding to implement and test their business models. The implementation phase will include an independent evaluation component to document impact and learnings.

The Impact

An estimated 19 million children around the world are blind or have low vision, and millions more have disabilities that impact their use of printed materials. The current process to produce reading materials accessible to these children is costly and inefficient, severely limiting the number of books available to them as they learn to read. This a major barrier to lifelong success, as access to quality reading materials early in life has a direct impact on lifelong literacy.

Materials supported by UNICEF eKitabu innovations are intended to meet the specifications to be included in the Global Digital Library, a web-based platform of reading resources to increase the availability of high quality reading resources in languages children use and understand. The Book Boost: Access for All Challenge and the Global Digital Library further supports the mission of the Global Book Alliance, a multi-stakeholder, international effort working to transform book development, procurement, distribution and usage so that no child is without books.