Storymoja

Celebrating East African Writing!

Profile of Storymoja

INTRODUCTION
Storymoja is a publishing company started by a collective of writers committed towards publishing contemporary East African writing of world-class standards. Our aim is to improve the literacy and numeracy levels of our children by publishing high quality and age appropriate content and nurturing the life-long culture of reading. We endeavor to promote reading for pleasure by positioning reading as cool, and using our Storymoja Festival platform to bring books to life through various forms of art. We have published adult titles under the Storymoja imprint and more than 100 children books under the Storyhippo imprint. In 2017, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) approved our Kiswahili title, ‘Kigogo’, as a set book in Kenyan secondary schools.

OUR VISION
A book in every hand!

OUR MISSION
To become a commercially profitable business that stimulates and benefits from a vibrant East African reading and writing culture.

OUR FOCUS AREAS
1. Transforming Narratives
We have deliberately invested in growing the African reading and writing scene so that our lives and cultures are reflected in the materials we write and read. We collect and publish local stories that have rich themes and pass on powerful life skills. We also use our Storymoja festival as a platform for stimulating and showcasing adult and children authors and books from Africa and beyond.

II. Transforming Mindsets

Our Reading Revolution Program incorporates teacher and student librarian training, stocking up school libraries with books and positioning storybooks as language textbooks. Our aim is to raise a generation of lifelong readers and correct the misconceptions that storybooks are ‘good to have’ and not ‘must have’ resources.

III. Transforming Lives
We have designed a holistic career intervention platform that incorporates career information resources, mentorship and training. The ultimate goal is to transform the lives of the youth so that they make informed career choices and enjoy fulfilling lives.

OUR KEY PROGRAMS AND CAMPAIGNS
1.   Start-a-Library
Start a library is a Storymoja reading promotion initiative started in 2012 to enhance access to books and nurture a life-long culture of reading by starting libraries in primary schools that do not have libraries. It is horrifying that only 2% of public primary schools in Kenya have libraries. This means that over 20,000 schools do not have libraries. This lack of access to exciting and relevant reading materials means that our children are grossly disadvantaged and do not possess the requisite literacy and numeracy skills. To date, we have made the following achievements:

  •  Installing libraries in schools
    We have set up 105 school libraries impacting over 100,000 children in 7 Counties across the country.
  • Partnership with County Governments

In 2016, we partnered with Makueni, Kitui and Mombasa Counties to start 30 model libraries each. This is in our effort to attain sustainability of the library projects through garnering for support from the County governments in terms of funding and support systems.

  • Capacity building for teachers and student librarians
    We endeavor to equip children with skills to own and manage the libraries. We also build the capacity of the teacher librarians on library management and bringing books to life for children.
  •  Booking into the Future initiative

This initiative seeks to encourage students from international schools in Kenya to adopt and start libraries in less disadvantaged primary schools as part of their community service projects.

  • National Read Aloud

This is the largest gathering of Kenyan Children reading aloud from the same text at the same time in multiple locations. This exercise is conducted bi-annually; on the last Friday of January and on the Day of the African Child on 16 June. Children read aloud from the KHRC-commissioned science fiction story, ‘Attack of the Shidas’. Last year’s Day of the African Child edition of the Read Aloud was held on Friday 17th June 2016, attracting 229,043 students from 1,097 schools across 44 counties. Children read from the book, ‘Attack of the Shidas’, under the theme: Reading Aloud for Peace and National Cohesion.

  • 100,000 Voices For Peace

This initiative seeks to build a network of Junior Peace Ambassadors across the country. We aim to distribute at least 100,000 copies of the KHRC-commissioned life skills book, ‘Attack of the Shidas’ to youth across 37 the country in 2017.

  •  Peace Festivals

We strive to engage in initiatives that seek to enhance and maintain a peaceful environment that positively feeds into our business. Following the 2007/2008 post election violence (PEV) we partnered with a child psychologist to develop peace workshops based on our book, Land of the Kitchen, that we rolled out to children representatives from 200 primary schools in Nairobi. Our key partners were the UN Habitat and the Nairobi City Council. In 2017, we seek to run peace workshops and festivals based on the KHRC-commissioned science fiction story, ‘Attack of the Shidas’ that teaches children the value of ethnic tolerance, non-discrimination and embracing unity in diversity.

Areas of Partnership
1) Partner with the other 44 County Governments to start 30 model libraries in each by the end of 2017
2) Partner with all the 47 County Governments to build capacity of students and teacher librarians, head teachers and board of management to appreciate and advocate for the library development agenda
3) Partner with the 47 County Governments to purchase and circulate copies of the ‘Attack of the Shidas’ to schools for use during the read aloud event
4) Partner with the 47 County Governments to recruit Junior Peace Ambassadors and take up the ’20,000 Voices For Peace’ initiative in 2017 by purchasing 20,000 copies of the recommended book and circulating to schools.
5) Partner with all the 47 County Governments to host a peace workshop and festival in 2017.

2.  Careerpedia

Careerpedia is a new, unique, interactive and tailor made career engagement platform designed to fill the existing career information gap for students, teachers, parents and mentors. In 2016, over 450,000 students failed to achieve set cut off points for university entry. The implication of this is that majority of the students do not have a clear-cut plan for their post-secondary education and career path. The disappointing KCSE results reinforces the need for an early career and mentor ship intervention for students while they are still in secondary school to enable them to develop alternative plans and career paths after secondary education. Careerpedia is currently in the market in the form of a careers encyclopedia and workbooks. The Careerpedia encyclopedia is a reference resource primarily designed for the local market and contains relevant, localized content. It is a friendly careers information resource detailing over 120 down to earth descriptions of both traditional and emerging careers. The Discover Your Career workbook is designed as a step by step career cycle guide for individual use. To date, we have made the following achievements:

  • Workshops in schools
    In partnership with like-minded institutions, we have conducted workshops for students in more than 100 schools within Nairobi, Makueni, Laikipia, Nyeri, Meru and Nakuru Counties. The sessions are specially designed to guide students through a self discovery process. The Discover Your Career workbook and encyclopedia are used as the training tools and resources.
  • Corporate sponsored workshops
    We have worked with many organizations such as Equity Bank Foundation, Cooperative Bank Foundation, Family Bank Foundation, Baraka Foundations and ICL in their scholarship programs. In the recent past, many organizations have realized the need to integrate life skills and career development programs in their existing scholarship models.
  • Capacity building for career teachers
    Our holistic career intervention aims to equip career teachers and head teachers with the requisite skills, tools, resources and information to provide desired guidance for students to make informed career decisions. We have trained career teachers in Nairobi, Laikipia, Meru and Nyeri Counties on how to offer mentorship and run a student-centered careers office in school.
  • Careerpedia Mentorship Network
    We have developed a diverse talent pool where students at all levels and professionals can engage in a mutually beneficial manner. We invite both individual and corporate membership through alumni organizations, chamas and companies. To date, we have signed up more than 300 mentors from across the various sectors. We build the capacity of both the mentors and mentees and provide networking opportunities.
  • Ex-cans
    This careers program targets students who are transitioning from secondary schools before they join tertiary institutions. The intervention aims to empower students to make informed career decisions and choices before joining college. We partnered with the Permanent Working Group that hosted the Hands on the Future Kenya Skills Show, a hands-on exhibition that sought to inspire youth to enthusiastically pursue technical, vocational, entrepreneurship and life skills training opportunities to get ahead in life and become more productive. For more information, please visit http://www.handsonthefuture.org/skillsshow/ .

Areas of Partnership

1) Partner with all the 47 County Governments to launch the Careerpedia Mentorship Network County Chapters and Edition in an effort to harness talent and mentor skills from local counties to be able to identify opportunities in their county and local solutions to their unique challenges.
2) Partner with all the 47 Counties to purchase career resources and circulate to all secondary schools, and support capacity building workshops for students, teachers, parents and mentors
3) Partner with the County Governments to host ex-cans workshops to target and sensitize students transitioning from high school to tertiary colleges on the available career opportunities, especially after the disappointing 2016 KCPE examinations.

3.  Storymoja Festival

The Storymoja Festival is an annual intellectual and cultural feast, and Kenya’s biggest book party that was conceived in 2007 and currently attracts over 5,000 children and adults with the objective of stimulating interest in ideas and books, to celebrate culture and knowledge. Over the five days, books are brought to life through poetry, storytelling, lively discussions with local and international artists, music, workshops, film and much more. In addition, topical issues such as health, careers, politics, technology, human rights, environment, entrepreneurship and youth empowerment are presented in very interactive and stimulating sessions. The festival is modeled around three key pillars:
1) Creativity: The festival experience is deliberately designed to stimulate and provoke minds and spark curiosity.
2) Exposure: Both the artists and audience get an opportunity to interact with diverse cultures, works, ideas and personalities
3) Collaboration: synergy among diverse local and international creative groups is fostered. Various partners and stakeholders benefit from the networking opportunities presented at the festival.

In 2015, we responded to the growing interest among students, teachers and stakeholders across the country to have the festival in their localities, by launching our first premier regional festival in Nakuru County from 28th to 30th May 2015. In 2016, we made our continental debut by taking the festival to Accra, Ghana from 21st to 25th September 2016 under the theme: Creating a Smarter Africa. This year’s festival will be held on 27th of September to 1st of October 2017, under the theme: Black Peace. For more information, please visit http://storymojafestival.com/ .

Areas of Partnership

1) Partner with all the County Governments to roll out regional festivals to the other counties to highlights local talent, cultures, and address solutions to local problems and challenges.

2) Partner with all the County Governments to exhibit, generate discussions and showcase the value of devolution to their counties on the Storymoja Festival platform in 2017.

Key Storymoja Personnel

Muthoni Garland is the CEO and lead brand ambassador. She writes and edits children’s books, runs writing workshops on behalf of Storymoja for individuals and companies, and makes motivational presentations about the power of reading. Her writing has been published in literary journals and newspapers in USA, UK, South Africa and Kenya, and her novella, Tracking the Scent of My Mother, was shortlisted for the 2006 Caine Prize.

Monity Odera is the Managing Editor. She has many years of experience working in leading educational publishing firms serving the East African market.

Dawn Makena is the General Manager in charge of the Reading Revolution unit. She is a professional project manager and passionate library ambassador who has supported many library projects across Africa. She is an alumni of the Bill and Melinda Gates INELI project and has a wealth of experience in capacity building for teachers, librarians and other information disseminators.

Stephen Kamau is the Finance Manager and is a certified accountant with many years of experience.

Beatrice Mwangi is the Sales and Marketing Manager. She has many years of experience working in leading educational publishing firms serving the East African market.

Muhiddin Ngashe is Operations Manager. He is a certified accountant with many years of experience.

 

OUR KEY CAMPAIGNS IN PHOTOS

storymoja pics

stories

festival

 

To contact the administrator of this blog, please write in to blogs@storymojaafrica.co.ke

5 comments on “Profile of Storymoja

  1. Grandmaster Masese
    November 19, 2008

    How do i submit my articles on this blog?

    Like

  2. storymojaafrica
    November 19, 2008

    Hello Grandmaster Masese,

    Just email your work to submissions@storymojaafrica.co.ke. If you would like your story to appear on the blog, mark in the subject : For Blog.

    If you would like to try for Storymoja Story of the Week, mark the subject as : Storymoja Story of the Week. Attach a short bio and a picture for this. The Story of the Week appears on http://www.storymojaafrica.co.ke

    Please note that if your piece does not qualify for Story of the week, we might consider it for the blog, in which case we would notify you.

    Thank you.

    Like

  3. oscar gee
    July 13, 2009

    can i submit original poetry in story of the week

    Like

  4. Storymoja Africa
    July 13, 2009

    Dear Oscar, it is supposed to be a STORY, but if you like we might consider your poetry to feature separately. Have to really impress the editor though.

    Like

  5. wamoronjia
    July 28, 2009

    Please confirm whether I can submit humour stories for the storymoja story of the week, and should they be strictly 1000 words? Appreciate it.
    Wamoronjia

    Like

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