FunDza launches on WhatsApp to bring reading into the lives of young South Africans

FunDza Literacy Trust has partnered with Turn.io to launch FunDza on WhatsApp to get its already popular reading content into the hands of thousands of new readers.

FunDza on WhatsApp engages with young South Africans on the country’s most popular communications platform in a secure, immediate and rich way. Turn.io’s tools will enable FunDza to find new ways of connecting with readers and writers countrywide as part of its mission to promote reading and writing to teens and young adults. It will also allow FunDza to offer new and exciting reading content frequently, and there are plans for reading challenges, competitions and more in the future.

FunDza.png

By simply messaging “hello” to 0600 54 8676, anyone on WhatsApp can access local stories, plays, blogs, poems and more written for a South African youth readership.

“We are very excited to utilise WhatsApp to promote reading amongst teens and young adults in an affordable and engaging way,” says Mignon Hardie, FunDza's Executive Director. “We first realised the potential whilst experimenting with the personal version of WhatsApp to engage with our readers. Our partnership with Turn.io allows us to manage the content and the engagement process more effectively.”

“Turn.io uses the latest advances in machine learning and behavioural science, in combination with WhatsApp’s broad appeal and dedicated user base, to help FunDza create new reading habits among thousands of new readers,” comments Praekelt.org founder, Gustav Praekelt. “We are looking forward to seeing how the channel helps nurture a nation of readers and book lovers.”

FunDza on WhatsApp has the potential to play an important role in getting teens and young adults excited about reading through the creation and publishing of stories that are distributed in innovative and engaging ways. This is especially important in a country where, according to the latest National Reading Survey, just 14% of adult South Africans identify as committed book readers.

As part of National Book Week celebrations currently underway FunDza has been launching the WhatsApp service in far-flung parts of the country. As one young school learner from Limpopo quipped when he connected with FunDza on WhatsApp: "It's nice to read stories on WhatsApp as well as chatting with friends."