Dr. Borzekowski Collaborates with Ubongo Kids on Children's Program
Nisha Ligon, the producer of educational cartoon company Ubongo Kids, was reading international literature on children and media and noticed that several articles were written by the same author, Dr. Dina Borzekowski. Ms. Ligon decided to send Dr. Borzekowski, Interim Director of the Center for Health Literacy and a research professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, an email. To her surprise, Dr. Dina Borzekowski responded and offered to help Ubongo Kids.
Ubongo Kids is situated in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the media team produces interactive educational cartoons to teach mathematics to children between the ages of 7 and 12 years. It is the only animated program for children in the Bantu language Kiswahili, and reaches audiences all over East Africa. Ubongo Kids is colorful and fun; lessons are engaging and often use catchy, original songs.
Ubongo Kids would like to develop another show - this time with a target audience of three to six year olds. The working title of the new show is Akili and features an animated little girl and her animal friends. Akili's purpose will be teach early literacy and numeracy skills, using Kiswahili and English. In October 2015, following the correspondence with Ms. Ligon, Dr. Borzekowski spent a week with the production team and conducted site visits in Dar es Salaam and Iringa. Dr. Borzekowski is serving as an advisor to Ubongo Kids on how to best examine whether Akili has an impact. Using a randomized controlled design, data will be collected to evaluate and shape this new show and broaden the reach of educational children's media in subsaharan Africa.