African Children Empowered To Speak Up About COVID-19

Last week, Uganda’s first edutainment book designed to inspire and empower children to speak up about the COVID-19 crisis and its effects on their day-to-day lives was released.RehmahKasule, a renowned Ugandan author, social innovator, gender and youth development expert, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has published, the Kids Voice book, titled: ‘Zara & Mika Lead Positive Life Change in their Community’.

The book features a collection of stories from children around Uganda. Through the stories, the children, aged 8 to 13, share their perspectives and life experiences during the pandemic. The book also includes fun and engaging activities that allow children to engage with exercising gratitude, reflection, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to build resilience in coping, surviving, and thriving during difficult times.

The book, published in hard copy, in e-version, and as an audiobook, was created through the ongoing Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Public Awareness Campaign aimed at promoting resilience and recovery among communities in Uganda.

The book is targeted at children in Uganda and the rest of Africa, as well as their parents and guardians. It will be available to children for free, through public and community libraries, on RehmahKasule’s website, Kids Voice partner programs such as; Forum for Education NGOs in Uganda and, effective today.

Commenting on the book, Kasule, the Founder and author of Kids Voice, said she is delighted to publish the book, which was only a dream a few months ago. “This book gives our children an opportunity to tell and share their unheard COVID-19 stories and experiences with their peers and the world.”

She added that, while children are not considered to be at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, they have been affected by school closures and little information about coping with the crisis. Through the book, the children share stories of courage, resilience, hope, curiosity, and entrepreneurial spirit, which will surely inspire others. The book also captures the essence of Ugandan food, natural resources, daily lifestyles, and cultures that make Uganda vibrant in times of adversity.

Samuel Yalew Adela, Country Head Uganda at the Mastercard Foundation, commended the children who contributed to the book for their creativity, efforts, and resilience during this pandemic and lauded Kasule for the initiative and for bringing the book to life.  “To solve any of the challenges facing our world today – including the pandemic – we have to listen to young people so we can build understanding and co-create solutions. We also need to give young people the tools to exercise their voice and agency. This is an excellent and inspiring example of both—a credit to the author, to the young people who participated, and to Uganda.”

“We are delighted that Kids Voice has offered children the opportunity to tell their stories and inspire their peers to freely share their stories. The Mastercard Foundation remains committed to collaborating with people and institutions that give a voice to children and young people in Uganda. We encourage them to speak up and to provide solutions to help them recover from the pandemic and remain resilient during this time,” Adela added.

Millions of school going-children have been affected by COVID-19. Save the Children, a global not-for-profit organization that champions the rights and interests of children worldwide, estimates that around 10 million children may never return to school after the pandemic.

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