Local publishers are set to avail children stories through e-learning platforms amid the lockdown period. The current distance learning tools include radio and TV, online applications, YouTube and other e-learning platforms — used to deliver lessons for children under the support of Rwanda Education Board and various partners. Some of the local publishers and distance learning tools developers include Editions Bakame, which is a local book publishing company, and NABU, a storytelling platform that provides stories for children in the mother tongue. “In collaboration with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, Bakame Editions has introduced reading sessions of interesting children’s stories for many youngsters who had to suspend classes due to COVID-19. Reading sessions are carried out on Rwanda TV reading space dubbed ‘DUSOME’,” says Eric Dusabimana, Bakame Editions’ managing director. He says the main purpose of these reading sessions is to assist society during the lockdown. “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. The reading sessions are aired every day from Monday to Friday from 10am to 10:30am and rebroadcasted over the weekend at 10am as well,” he says. He says they are also planning to open a digital reading platform through which all its published stories will be accessible. The move is dedicated to promoting reading culture amid the lockdown. “We have so far published over 250 children’s books in Kinyarwanda, French, English, and Swahili in different categories from fiction to non-fiction,” he says. Some of the children stories are extracted from the books such as Humura Shenge, Umukobwa w’Ingona, Abana b’Inkubaganyi, Ubutungutungu, Uruhimbi rwa Nyanka, Akajangwe Buroho and Bakame na Ruhinyura. NABU application NABU, a story telling platform that provides mother tongue stories for children has availed children stories during the lockdown period. The free-use NABU application that is on Google Play Store was officially launched in Rwanda last year. The beneficiaries of NABU application are children, but the users and contributors (writers) are parents. The aim of NABU is to solve challenges related to distribution of books, creation of mother tongue relevance and representation and boosting the culture of reading. “We have new books in Kinyarwanda that are also coming which children can read for free amid the ongoing lockdown. Parents use the application and read books to their children,” says Amos Furaha, the director of Global User Engagement at NABU. He says that the books have few pages which makes it easier for parents to read to their children. “Since the launch, there has been an average application of 4,000 users every day, and this is the time it can benefit more children as we are under lockdown,’ he says. He says there are over 700 stories available on the application, including those in Kinyarwanda. “There are some stories whose content we develop on our own as application developers, and other stories developed by publishers we are partnering with. We make sure the stories help the children to think as they stimulate their brain. People can use their smart phones to access the stories,” he says. He adds that the application also includes stories that educate children about social distancing, COVID-19, prevention and what they should do, like hand-washing and other things. An estimated 1.2 billion learners have been affected by school closures around the world, therefore, distance learning innovations are needed on the table according to UNESCO.