Kenyan publishers awarded for developing born accessible early grade reading materials in the content development challenge program

In Kenya, the lack of born accessible reading materials for learners with disabilities is often a major barrier to access and inclusion. Learners who are visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing lack access to reading materials from publishers and content creators and are unable to participate in mainstream classrooms.

In September 2020, eKitabu invited Kenyan publishers to create born-accessible, early-grade reading materials for use by Kenyan learners with and without disabilities under the Content Development Challenge (CDC) competition. eKitabu conducted hands-on training with over 25 publishers and content creators, equipping them with eKitabu open source tools on toolkit.eKitabu.com to incorporate accessibility into their products and publishing practices.

We received 52 newly developed titles submitted by different publishers and content creators in textbooks and storybooks in English, Kiswahili, French, and Mother Tongue categories, having the accessibility features of media overlay, image description, sign language video embedment, accessibility metadata, landmark, and structural hierarchy.

We are glad to be part of this bus. It was a tough task creating accessible early-grade reading materials. Thank you to eKitabu for the training and for sharing the tools that helped us create accessible content. We are forever grateful and looking forward to the next CDC competition.” Henry Onyonka, CEO, Distinction Educational publishers.

               Moran Publishers receiving
the CDC award at their office in Nairobi, Kenya

Distinction Educational Publishers receiving
the CDC award at their office in Nairobi, Kenya

Content development is our business and Content Development Challenge program by eKitabu has encouraged us to do more content development that is born-accessible and contributes to the growth of education in this country.” Mary Maina, Managing Director, Moran Publishers.

These publishers were awarded for the production of the most accessible titles that achieved high marks according to the accessibility scorecard:

  • Distinction Educational Publishers – Grand Prize Winner
  • Twaweza Communications Limited – First Runner Up winner
  • One Planet Publishing and Media Services Limited – Second Runner Up Winner
  • Moran Publishers – Best Overall Textbook Titles

Winners were awarded cash, trophies, certificates, and gift hampers

“There is value in inclusive education and we should streamline inclusivity in our publishing industry. The Content Development Challenge has inspired and challenged us to do more work and compete with other publishers in creating born accessible materials” Professor Kimani Njogu, Director, Twaweza Communications Limited.

               One Planet publishers receiving
the CDC award at their office in Nairobi, Kenya

Twaweza Communication Limited receiving
the CDC award at their office in Nairobi, Kenya

“It was as exciting as it was fulfilling to have had the opportunity to take part in the CDC competition. The training component in the CDC program has helped grow our capacity for developing content that will not only benefit children in Kenya’s villages and estates, but also those in the states of the entire global village, for digital content knows no physical barriers.” Kithusi Mulonzya, CEO, One Planet Publishing and Media Services Limited.

Content Development Challenge (CDC) incentivizes publishers to adopt born-accessible practices, recognizing and rewarding quality titles created by publishers with cash awards, certificates, and gift hampers. Central to CDC is the use of practical materials and templates included in the eKitabu open-source Accessible EPUB Toolkit

“The Content Development Challenge is one of the programs at eKitabu that involve publishers in creating accessible content and challenge them to be inclusive in the process of digitizing content for all learners. At eKitabu, we truly value the relationship that we have with the publishers.Lilian Kibagendi, Project Manager, eKitabu.

CDC is funded through The Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) – a grant program co-led by the UAE-based global philanthropic organization Dubai Cares and implemented by the International Publishers Association (IPA).