Karadi Tales Encourage Reading Through It’s Innovative Library Activities!

To celebrate National Library Week (April  10 – 16, 2016), we rounded up organizations who are using libraries in innovative ways to Encourage READing. Today, we are presenting the work done by Karadi Tales, a children’s publishing house which takes children through an exciting and magical journey with audiobooks, picture books, iPad apps, videobooks and more.

IMG_6882“A storytelling session at a children’s activity centre”

“Libraries are a great place to launch new titles; the ambience is perfect and naturally piques the interest levels of children. The events that Karadi Tales organises at libraries and activity centers are never just reading out from a book.

  • They plan interactive sessions which includes an array of activities like craft, sing-a-long, theatre, movement etc.

IMG_20150905_110712340“A guitarist performs for the children after the launch and reading of the picture book ‘The Dragon’s Toothache'”

  • They also invite seasoned storytellers and the authors and illustrators from their titles for these events.

IMG_0989“Author ‘Chitra Soundar’ Reading out loud from her book ‘Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip'”

  • The focus of these events is to encourage children to think, ideate and engage in conversation. When children enjoy the session, they look forward to more stories. These children will in turn want to revisit the libraries often, read and listen to more stories. They become readers – eventually that’s what we want, a nation of readers, Shobha Viswanath, Publishing Director, Karadi Tales.

IMG_0115“Kids creating a picture board after story reading”

sneeze 2“A storytelling session at a children’s activity centre”

How are you making libraries more fun, exciting and meaningful for children in your communities? Share your thoughts and ideas with us at puneet.dhillon@cks.in.

 

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Learning Together-Read to Kids Partner Trainings

On 8th, 11th and 12th April, CKS, in collaboration with Worldreader conducted training workshops with Katha, Society for All Round Development (SARD) and Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT). The preceding workshop held on the 4th April workshop officially launched the next leg of the Reads to Kids pilot program in India, with introductions of implementing partners, organizational expertise,  reasons for collaboration and goals of the Read to Kids program. The three day training focused on providing a hands on experience in storytelling, using the ‘Read to Kids’ portal and sharing past experiences from the field. Participants from partner organisation included community mobilizers and project managers who would be reaching out to the target users for this pilot. Continue reading

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It’s National Library Week! Let’s READ!

National Library Week (April  10 – 16, 2016) is a time to celebrate the various ways in which our libraries and library workers are bringing the worlds of children and books together. From free access to books to being resource centers for families, libraries offer numerous opportunities to a diverse group.

And as a fan and frequent user of libraries, I’m all about celebrating. This is the perfect opportunity to encourage our children to tell their stories. This year, READ Alliance interacted with a group of TFI children to know ‘Why do they want to visit a Library’. And did we get some awe-inspiring responses.

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“I like to read books in my free time to get some learning”

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“I want to go to a library because books give us more ideas about past. We learn how we did different things in our life. From getting ideas from books we can solve community problems”

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“Because there are so many books from which I get more learning and more perspective of people. This helps us grow”

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“I want to learn a lot, I want to find my passion, I want to show some values, I want to be a good person in my life & only library can teach me”

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“I love reading books, and when I read books, I take lots of learnings from that and that helps me grow into a nice person”

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“I want to know how interesting books are”

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“I want to see how a library looks like and what do we do in a library”

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“I want to read stories and I want to inspire others by telling them about themselves and others”

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“I want to study and know about things and teach other students too”

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“I want to read books as when I read books, I feel happiness inside” 

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“Books are my friend & these books are giving me a lot of knowledge that I can use in my future to be something. And books are like real friends, if someone is not with us- so then we can use books to make ourselves feel better. Books teach us values and lots of things”

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“I want to freshen my mind and thoughts”

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“I love reading and exploring books”

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“Books give us lots of learnings and I want to learn new words and meaning”

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“I want to share the lives of all people in this world”

IMG_9433“I want to read a lot of books”

IMG_9432“Because it lets me know about authors who write books and how they write these books. I want to go to a library because it makes me know about the past”

IMG_9431“Because I want to get learnings from books and spread to everyone”

Happy National Library Week!

In the coming week, we will be featuring organizations who are doing something different to make libraries more accessible, engaging and child-friendly in their surroundings. If you or someone near you is #Makingadifference, do send in details about your program along with pictures to puneet.dhillon@cks.in.

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Changing Bihar – ‘Nothing Changes, if Nothing Changes’

In a recent trip to Samastipur in Bihar, I came across a line of rickety, roadside stalls illegally downloading and selling latest Hollywood movies in HD – that too, at a nominal price of Rs. 10. Villages where electricity is uncertain and where I could still stare up at night and see what my Delhi eyes would call half-of-the-milky-way, there didn’t seem to be even a sliver of doubt that the internet had penetrated deep. Ravish Kumar (journalist/TV personality/one of Bihar’s favourite products) had done an episode on how poorly the media had documented the impact of electrification in rural Bihar. To Ravish I say, there’s something bigger than electricity that’s happening in Bihar right now and thankfully, it’s spreading way faster than electricity connections.

The future of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth? (Photo credits: Noah Seelam)

What does technology and the use of internet at the grass root mean for the state of development and change-making? Can development agents quickly adapt and incorporate this to successfully accelerate inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth? In conversations with district health officials across Bihar, I tried to imagine the existence of a system that leverages this available technology in ways that allows the grass root to solve local challenges, locally.

Taking into account constant drop outs and weak footfalls at immunization drives, Ataur Rehman, Vikas Kumar and Bharti Kumari, district officials from Munger district, have conceptualized an automated reminder service using mobile phones. The idea is to get the beneficiary to register by simply giving a missed call on a number while the backend catches her phone number as opposed to community health workers going door to door updating registers.

Due to the unavailability of doctors during night deliveries in Saran district, Rajeshwar Singh – Hospital Manager at the district hospital has started encouraging medical staff to relay all reports of patients to the doctors via SMS or Whatsapp for them to interpret and advise remotely.

Many female health workers in Bihar cross rivers and walk for tens of kilometers to provide basic healthcare services to what are known as ‘hard to reach’ communities. These communities are rarely numbered or tagged and are difficult to monitor. Geo-tagging these hard to reach areas through a unique numbering system was a concept developed by health officials from a Gaya, Sheikhpura and Nalanda districts in a recent co-creation workshop.

These ideas emerging out of the rural heartlands of Bihar is a reflection of a starved and disconnected community’s need to cling on and use any available medium in ways otherwise unimaginable. Tabish Khair wrote about daffodils in Gaya and how Bihar is more susceptible to change than a New Delhi, London, Copenhagen, or Tokyo – and he is absolutely right, change here has been liberating. In a state where a labour room in the local health facility is still a dream, it’s exhilarating to discuss how available data could soon facilitate informed local decision-making and maybe even impact policy. The ecosystem is fast changing, and it’s time development methods do too.

A very appropriate sticker found on the door of the government’s Data Cell at the New Secretariat (Vikas Bhawan) in Patna, Bihar.

In a talk in Norway, Christopher Fabian, who leads UNICEF’s Innovation unit, spoke about how every night people in the villages of Burundi collect their phones in a bucket and send it to a place with good connectivity to charge them. It’s only time that we realise that local problems will always have local solutions, and real impact will only be felt if we start investing in the marriage of human ingenuity and locally preferred technologies.

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Let the reading begin! Read to Kids Kick-Off Workshop

The Worldreader team along with CKS and implementing partners

The Worldreader team along with CKS and implementing partners

On 4th April, CKS and Worldreader hosted a workshop to officially kick off the pilot year of the ‘Read to Kids’ project. Over the past six months, CKS has been conducting formative research to better understand reading attitudes and behaviors of parents and children in Delhi. This research has been used by Worldreader to prepare for the piloting of the Read to Kids program in Delhi. This week, we were joined by representatives from the partners that will be implementing this pilot program. The one-day workshop brought all partners together to understand each organization’s expertise, the purpose of collaboration, and discuss the goals of the Read to Kids program. Continue reading

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Read to Kids, one handset at a time

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A screenshot of the portal. Available in several languages.

For the past few months, CKS has been working with Worldreader to understand reading behaviours in low income households in Delhi. Worldreader in partnership with Pearson is running a two- year pilot in India to promote pre-literacy skills.We have been speaking to all possible reading partners for a child aged 0-6 years, the group has included parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, teachers, grandparents, neighbours among others. Through these interactions, we have gathered insight into current reading behaviours, regular mobile use, perceptions of reading as a joyful activity and appetite for an intervention like this among others.  The research has been informing critical decisions for the team regarding appropriate content, strategic messaging, usability of  the web app and above all, an indepth understanding of the target users. IMG_8258This portal will have free books for parents and other caregivers to read aloud to children and enhance their pre-school skills.

Recently, some of Worldreader’s team members joined us in the field where they had a chance to observe field protocols and converse with the respondents.

IMG_8171David Risher, CEO & Co-Founder wrote a few words about his visit and shared a video of Tahira, one of our respondents from Gautam Nagar, who enjoyed reading through the portal with her young child. It’s moments like these that keep the excitement going and remind us of the impact that we will be able to create.

Read David’s original post here.

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#InnovMAMPU Talks: Institute for Education, Development, Social, Religious, and Cultural Studies (INFEST)

In the last blog in the#InnovMAMPU talks series, we spoke with Institute for Education, Development, Social, Religious, and Cultural Studies (INFEST) that is working to improve women’s role in policy making. INFEST is working towards increasing the participation and influence of women in village government by testing curriculum for governance schools for women, appreciative village planning methods, and the use of information and communication technologies for village planning across 5 districts of Banjarnegara, Wonosobo,  Malang, Poso, Takalar.

VIN: INFEST is working toward increasing participation of women in local government across a number of locations. Could you briefly describe your program, and the various prototype solutions you have developed?

INFEST: The program has been designed to improve women’s  participation in decision making at the village level.  It is important for women groups to influence decision making and development process. The Women friendly Village has been designed to answer two main problems at the village level i.e. limited capacity of women groups as the important actors to influence development processes and limited women group’s political participation along development planning processes .  We see that capacity of the women groups will determine the  ability of the women to influence  local authority and regulations to be  gender sensitive. The enhancement of women’s political capacity will increase their  participation.

INFEST  designed Sekolah Perempuan (SP), a women’s school, as an inclusive and dynamic civic education space, where creative groups and village government collaborates to advocate the changes at village level. SP prepares women group with practical theories and makes them to practice on field, in order to improve capacity and influence village decision making process, including the contents of development planning. Continue reading

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EGRIC Dialogues: Participant Speak II

The READ Alliance launched EGRIC 2015 to discover, develop and scale early grade reading innovations for primary school children in India. As a part of this, Innovation Workshops were organised across four cities to raise awareness about EGRIC 2015 and encourage innovative thinking in designing solutions to improve low reading skills among children. Kanchan Kishore from Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd, Bhopal shares her experience:

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Kanchan Kishore, Manager Projects, Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd., Workshop Participant, Bhopal

– What got you interested in this workshop?

At Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd., I manage projects which deal with printing and publishing content for EGR, most of these are activity based learning materials. My interest stemmed from my interest in the idea of innovation and as participants of the recent EGRIC. This workshop was like icing on the cake.

– Have you been to an innovation workshop before? How was this different than others?

Yes, these workshops are a learning experience for me. We have been trying innovative ways to inculcate reading habits in small children. The major difference in this workshop was the participation. In other workshops, it’s mostly been client focussed where everyone attending is working on the same project. In #IWBhopal, the focus was  on problems, challenges of the same sector in different settings. We learned about how others innovate with limited resources and the different solutions, approaches to the same problems.

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Workshop Participants, Innovation Workshop, Bhopal

– What was your key takeaway from the workshop?

For me, there were multiple takeaways such as how to work creatively with limited resources and how to find out and underline basic challenges in order to devise innovative ways of working on EGR issues. We were able to do a meaningful problem analysis. It’s important for all to understand that reading is not studying and work together to make children appreciate reading.

– How has the experience helped in your program or operations?

This workshop gave me an interactive platform to meet end users of the interactive material that Aadarsh creates. It gave me an understanding of ground level challenges and the implementation aspect of our work. It has been an opportunity to rediscover ways of working.
Did you participate in one of our innovation workshops? We would like to hear from you about your experience. Write in to readalliance@cks.in or tweet to us at @READ_Alliance

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EGRIC Dialogues: Facilitator Corner

The READ Alliance launched EGRIC 2015 to discover, develop and scale early grade reading innovations for primary school children in India. As a part of this, Innovation Workshops were organised across four cities to raise awareness about EGRIC 2015 and encourage innovative thinking in designing solutions to improve low reading skills among children. Excerpts from a conversation with one of the workshop facilitators:

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Namrata Mehta, Director, Innovation, Lucknow and Bhopal Workshop Facilitator

 

  • Why an innovation workshop now?

I can’t compare these to the ones we did in the first year. Our aim for that was to create awareness and gauge response to the Seven Steps to Reading along with bringing people together for collaboration. This time the approach was very different. We still believe in the seven steps. An innovation workshop was a great platform to have a dialogue around what innovation is, share our thesis on innovation, what the participants are already doing that can be identified as innovation and if not then what can be done.

  • What is the importance of innovation in program design?

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    Group Presentations, Bhopal Innovation Workshop

I think program design can sometimes be a very internal view of what should work and could work. Innovation helps expand that view. At times, the need from the solutions is to create agency for people who need change, it’s not always how programs are designed. It’s important to look into how information is being translated into solutions, are the factors being considered most appropriate to scale, who are you engaging with to bring change. Programs don’t necessarily allow you to fail and learn but innovation kind of necessitates that which can be a catalyst for solutions.

  • A lot of your participants were practitioners and NGOs. How was it different to build innovation capacity with that group?

We don’t always work with the kind of participants we had for these workshops i.e. people who are from different organisations but working in the same space. We have done these workshops with people who have existing relationships or depend on each other. Here the people were just together because they worked in the same sector so it was interesting to work with them.

  • Can you share something that you learnt from the participants?

Diversity in innovation is not spoken about enough. I met a sanskrit teacher in one of these workshops who was so quick to grasp and take these ideas forward.It was good to see different schools of thought and how they reconcile on the concepts and ways of understanding the challenge.

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EGRIC Dialogues: Participant Speak

The READ Alliance launched EGRIC 2015 to discover, develop and scale early grade reading innovations for primary school children in India. As a part of this, Innovation Workshops were organised across four cities to raise awareness about EGRIC 2015 and encourage innovative thinking in designing solutions to improve low reading skills among children. Following is an excerpt from a conversation with one of the participants:

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Emily Kenney, M&E Consultant, Workshop Participant, Lucknow

– What got you interested in this workshop?

A friend of mine had shared details about this happening and it seemed interesting.I wanted to learn more about innovation in traditional development programs for education and meet other organisations from this sector. At that time I was designing a program for education of adolescent girls in rural settings and I was keen to see how some of these approaches could apply there.

– Have you been to an innovation workshop before? How was this different than others?

Yes, I have. I was a StartingBloc fellow and we attended an innovation workshop as a part of that. This workshop was different because it was very focussed on social innovation and education.The participants were also from the same frame of reference and it was helpful to hone in on the challenge.

Group Activity, Innovation Workshop, Lucknow

– What was your key takeaway from the workshop?

The collaborative activities were very interesting for me. A massive takeaway was how to work with small teams on critical challenges through a simple problem solving activity. The activities themselves were so different from the typical problem tree approach.

– How has the experience helped in your program or operations?

I think it was really helpful that I attended with a colleague where we could go back and share with a wider group about the other organisations working in the sector and the Read Alliance itself. It was a point where the organisation was looking to scale up and the knowledge we gathered that day was good to reflect on our future plans.We took back a simple activity to get the program team and external partners to work together and review the existing plan in alignment with program goals. The activity template was beneficial to take forward with new partners to make some critical decisions.

Did you participate in one of our innovation workshops? We would like to hear from you about your experience. Write in to readalliance@cks.in or tweet to us at @READ_Alliance

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