Applied Linguistics and Literacy
in Africa & the Diaspora Research Network

The African Storybook goes global

December 5th, 2017

The African Storybook is the major provider of free and openly licenced stories in African languages, with more than 700 unique stories in over 100 African languages. A set of 40 stories from the African Storybook have now been translated into other languages and made available for a Canadian and Norwegian audience through Storybooks Canada and Barnebøker for Norge, respectively. These two websites also offer audio recordings of the stories in most languages.


Pre-WOCAL9 Training in Theory and Methods of Language Documentation, August, 2018

October 31st, 2017

The ten-day training workshop on language documentation to share and transfer knowledge and skills about the methods and practices of language documentation will be held at The Netherlands Institute in Morocco (NIMAR), Rabat, Morocco, prior to the 9th World Congress of African Linguistics (WOCAL9) to be held at Mohamed V University, Rabat (25–28 August, 2018). The training is intended for graduate students, early career researchers and linguistic faculty in Africa. The workshop is Sponsored by The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP), SOAS University of London. More information.

Pan African Reading for All Conference, Abuja, August 2017: CODE’s research seminar

October 31st, 2017

The initiative Context Matters is being established by CODE to lessen the reliance of practitioners in Africa on external evidence by supporting research which is clearly situated in local contexts and recognizes the multifarious and complex relationships between the local and global in education. As an initial step in developing an appropriate research agenda, CODE commissioned two landscape literature reviews and one policy analysis from Jennifer Thompson, Espen Stranger-Johannessen, and Kapil Dev Regmi, with peer input from faculty at numerous African universities. The literature reviews examine existing research on current literacy and language education in Africa as it relates to Girls’ Empowerment through Language and Literacy, and Africa Language and Literacy with a focus on ‘21st century skills’. The papers go on to identify promising and intriguing areas requiring attention including Gender, literacy, and the policy environment; The literacy practices of girls and boys in school and beyond; Sexual health literacies; Early childhood education related to African realities and practices; Mother tongue- based multilingual education; and Development and use of openly licensed learning materials. These reports were presented at the Pan African Reading for All Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

The conference brought together 230 experts (214 from Africa) mainly from higher education, including teacher colleges, representing a total of 20 nations, 12 of which were African. To stimulate wider discussion and generate feedback related to priorities for future literacy research, the reviews were presented at the CODE Research Symposium, “Developing a Literacy Education Research Agenda in Africa.” The panelists addressed issues of language policy, teacher preparedness, and the how cultural practices impact literacy and learning. The feedback from the symposium addressed similar issues, including parents’ role in education, gender empowerment, language of instruction, and research methodologies. More information.

Book available online (limited time only)

July 21st, 2017

The following book is available online (for a limited period of time):
Kerfoot, C. & Hyltenstam, K. (eds.). (2017) Entangled Discourses: South-North Orders of Visibility. Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism. New York: Routledge.


BAAL seminar on Minority Languages and New Media

February 11th, 2017

The British Association For Applied Linguistics is organizing a seminar entitled Minority Languages and New Media: Towards language revitalisation in Africa and Europe at Aston University, Birmingham, April 27-28, 2017. Abstracts are due February 20. More information.

Dr. Juliet Tembe, In Memoriam (UMLEN)

December 20th, 2016

UMLEN with great sadness announces the death of Dr. Juliet Tembe who passed away last night in Mbale. Juliet has been a key pillar in the Uganda Multilingual Education Network ever since it was founded. She has served on the network’s coordination committee, with great dedication and always made it a point to participate in activities either physically in Kampala or remotely from her office at the Islamic University in Uganda, Mbale Campus. Juliet loved local language literacy and education with a passion. At the time of her death, she had translated this passion into concrete actions that have uplifted the footprint of literature in local languages especially for children and young people.

Her work as coordinator of the Africa Storybooks Project an online platform that has published several readers for children in different Ugandan languages is testimony of this dedication. She was instrumental in setting up the Lunyole Language Association which has not only helped to codify the language but also boosted a language comparatively with a few speakers into one of the most published in Uganda. In fact Lunyole with 341,000 speakers in Uganda is ranked 4th amongst languages with the most titles of books, only beaten to the top honours by Luganda, Lugbara and Lango. Juliet helped set up Busolwe Public Library to both provide access to reading materials and inspire literary creativity within the community. Sometime in 2015, Juliet disclosed to the UMLEN coordination committee that she suffered from Leiomyosarcoma, high-grade and very aggressive cancer in her upper left thigh and at that time had spread to the nodule in the lung.She fought on and kept in touch until last night. Our heartfelt condolences to the family and relatives. May God rest Dr. Juliet Tembe’s soul in peace. Burial is due Saturday 17th December 2016 in Busolwe, Butaleja district.

Charles Batambuze


The African Storybook in the Digital Age

November 28th, 2016

ReN Africa’s director, Bonny Norton, has named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. This is the PechaKucha presentation she gave at her induction:

Pan African Reading for All Conference, Abuja, 2017

November 6th, 2016

The Reading Association of Nigeria will host the 10th annual Pan African Literacy for All Conference on August 28–31, 2017. The conference theme is “Connecting and Engaging with Literacies: Systems and Structures for Sustainable Development”. Contact: Judith Baker ( Website.

LIA BAAL SIG annual conference, Reading, UK, May 2017

November 6th, 2016

The next Annual Conference of the LIA BAAL SIG will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at the University of Reading and the theme will be “Language without Borders: Multilingual Communication in Africa and the Diaspora”. Papers are invited on any topic which fits into that theme, including translation, translanguaging, oral communication and so forth. Please contact the LiASIG Secretary Goodith White ( for more information.

Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP)

November 5th, 2016

Accredited universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda can submit a project request to host a scholar. Scholars born in Africa, who live in the United States or Canada and work in an accredited college or university in either of those two countries, can apply to be placed on a roster of available candidates for a fellowship. Scholars must hold a terminal degree in their field and may hold any academic rank. Scholars who have already received a fellowship in the fall 2015 or spring 2016 competitions, are not eligible to participate.

Selection decisions will be made in March 2017; project visits can begin as early as May 1, 2017 and must be completed by August 31, 2017. Projects can be conducted in the African host country for 14-90 days. For the fellowship, the African Diaspora Fellow will receive a $200/day stipend, visa costs, limited health insurance coverage, and round-trip international air travel. Deadline: December 8, 2016. Contact: Jeremy Coats ( Website.