Using Digital Story Apps To Create Impact With African Stories

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."Maya Angelou

In December 2014, Genii Games’ showcased African stories to children at a local community in Lagos, Nigeria.

It was an amazing experience where dozens of children turned up to watch our African stories projected on the large screen. Afterwards, I could tell the children were inspired going by the direct feedback from them.

Digital African Stories Crosssection of the audience during Genii Games’ Story Showcase at Arobadade Community in Bariga, Lagos

One thing that struck me was the surprising look on the children’s faces watching a locally produced cartoon story with an African context.

It sparked my concern for what I saw as a generation of children unaware that the ingredients of these visually appealing African stories – ideas, skills, talents, tools, and contexts – lay at their disposal.

Worse still, these children were at the risk of growing up with little or no say in how their narratives are told.

From conceptualization through production to eventual outputs like anything we see on Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network, these children needed to be inspired to know they could develop the same and share their stories with the world.

Think about what a child who’s already scribbling on paper or playacting before his or her peers can gain from knowing the invaluable application of his/her skills to the contents consumed daily via different media.

One thing that struck me was the surprising look on the children’s faces watching a locally produced cartoon story with an African context. Tweet

Animated series like Genii Games’ African story apps require creative talents among children and who better to do it than kids themselves. Empowerment is inspiration. Thus, inspiring them forms the cradle of what’ll become of their narratives and skills.

Digital African Stories Children giving feedback during Genii Games’ Story Showcase at Arobadade Community in Bariga, Lagos

Convinced, we decided as a team we’d take our African stories to these children.

We extended our Digital Storytelling Workshop where we work with children to develop story apps and videos around their ideas to include showcases of African stories to children in primary schools. And so, 2 weeks ago, we wrote to dozens of private primary schools across Lagos asking for a chance to showcase Genii Games’ African story apps for FREE.

Digital Storytelling Workshop

Yes, all we simply asked for were permission, space and about 30 minutes of the school’s extra curricular time. Response? Well, let’s just say, they’re taking their time so we await them patiently :D

Moving on, we approached the local government education authority close to our office with a similar proposition for public primary schools under its supervision. We didn’t have to do much; brief explanation then one of us brought out his phone, launched one of our mobile African story apps and the education district head got it!

“Wow, this will inspire the kids!”, he sounded out.

In less than two weeks, we secured permission and presently have an expression of interest from a different local government even before starting out in Yaba. Awesome! OneDot Photography also agreed to partner to make it a great experience for all.

Next Steps

We have about 60 Public Primary Schools in this locality alone and we are determined to share our stories with them. It would be great to make it an impactful experience for the children so let’s do this. Thanks to OneDot Photography for throwing in their early support.

Cover Image, Genii Games’ Story Showcase at Arobadade Community in Bariga, Lagos.

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