Digital Reading, SDGs | November 23, 2021

Partnership Announcement


Worldreader and Bezos Family Foundation collaborate to foster early child development and learning in Kenya. 

29 October 2021 – San Francisco, CA. San Francisco-based global education nonprofit Worldreader and the Bezos Family Foundation are pleased to announce a partnership that will foster early child development and learning in childcare centres and homes in Kenya. 

Worldreader believes that readers build a better world. Combining 21st-century technology, culturally relevant digital books, and supportive programming, Worldreader seeks to improve learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity in vulnerable communities around the world. Since 2010, Worldreader and its partners have distributed more than 66 million digital books to over 19 million children and young adults. 

The Bezos Family Foundation’s mission is to invest in the science of learning and the experiences that youth from prenatal to high school need to pursue their own path for success. The Foundation launched Vroom in 2015 as a part of their efforts to champion the science and its application, a global program that provides science-based tips and tools to more than 1.4 million families worldwide to help boost children’s learning when brain development is most rapid.

Worldreader, Vroom, and Kenya-based Kidogo and ThinkPlace will work together to develop, adapt, test, and scale a Kiswahili innovative digital education program aimed to support children’s early childhood development. The program is called ‘Cheza, Soma, Jifunze’, which means ‘Play, Read, Learn’ in Kiswahili. 

Key to this partnership is the expansion of Worldreader’s Booksmart digital reading service with age-appropriate Vroom science-based tips adapted for Kenyan context and in Kiswahili. The digital reading service will provide a key educational resource for an initial estimated 1,320 Kenya stakeholders, primarily in Kangemi, Kawangware, Mathare, Babadogo, Tassia, Mowlem, Komarock and Kibera in Nairobi city, with a view to expand to additional settlements by 2023. This intervention as well as research study, backed by science-based tips, is designed to establish policy-relevant information regarding the most effective methods for scaling up parental engagement and support to early learning readiness and literacy improvements at a national and international scale.   

As a cost-effective program, the project intends to scale and benefit +4,500 additional direct beneficiaries. These will be distributed within Nairobi city, across major cities and hard-to-reach communities in Kenya, with a potential to replicate across the Swahili speaking East Africa region. 

BookSmart, purpose-built for children and families in under-resourced communities, nurtures young readers, building a habit and joy of reading for life-long discovery. The easy-to-use, lightweight app is optimized for all connection speeds, keeping data costs low.



Joan Mwachi
Regional Director, East Africa,


Melanie Wise
Sr. Director, Global Marketing & Communications