Rwandans have been on lockdown for the past one week, limiting their access to a number of services, including physical libraries in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus.
To address the lack of access to books during the lockdown, local publisher, Fiston Mudacumura, has launched an audiobook distribution platform.
The platform dubbed Hadithi za Africa Pamoja (HAAPA) will help people access storybooks while at home.
Mudacumura, who is the co-founder of a local publishing firm 'Mudacumura Publishing House' said the platform is a collection African stories published in the Kinyarwanda language.
"When you look at audiobooks on the global picture, it is an industry that is really developing in this digital era and a big number of established international publishing companies are increasingly opting to embrace audiobook distribution," he said.
The publisher has a collection of 100 audiobooks containing stories recorded in Kinyarwanda.
60 per cent of the audiobooks are certified and recommended by Rwanda Education Board (REB) for distribution in primary and secondary schools.
A shared platform
The platform was not only created for the publisher's use because it allows third-party content owners to be able to create own accounts, upload their own audio contents and be able to distribute them worldwide.
"We believe the platform can help the creative industry to promote its oral contents (music, poems, audio dramas, podcasts, religious and enlightening audio preaching) to a bigger audience," he explained.
To access the content, one has to register on www.haapastore.com .
So far, there are a total of 100 storybooks available on the platform and each audiobook is accessed at Rwf180.
A print version costs Rwf 2,000.
"This is a platform we have been planning to launch in the near future. But we think this is the best moment to activate it to help people staying home during this the VOCI-19 pandemic lockdown to keep them busy," he said.
The publisher also plans to work with GAERG to records a small number of survivors' testimonies and upload them on the platform.