On fundza.mobi we always have at least three free courses available. They are not accredited with any institutions, but those who complete the courses do get an electronic certificate. They are based our fabulous FunDza content, covering a range of topics from love and gangs to possessive pronouns and propaganda. Each text has a set of questions, and we try hard to get our questions to deepen readers’ understanding of the texts. You can see a list of our current courses here

At the end of each course, the participants complete a survey, and it is my job to go through thousands of comments every month. And each time I am thrilled and humbled at the impact we are having on people’s lives.

We say, in our theory of change, that with the right content, people can get ‘hooked’ onto reading, and then read more. And we can see in the responses to the surveys that this is happening. We ask participants about whether FunDza has had an impact on their language skills, and/or their lives. Here are some of the (unedited) answers:

• I used to be a social media edict, now I have started addiction on reading
• It’s improved my reading skills… I was lazy to read a book, I normally read only 2 pages then I’m bored but know I can read half of the book per day
• I never had the skills of reading EG Before coming to Fundza I never had the interest of reading
• Yes at first I didn’t like to read but I now love to because of interesting stories
• Yes now I can read properly not the way I used too
• It has improved my reading skills I because I normally can’t concentrate through our a passage when reading but because I was captivated k was able to read the whole passage without being distracted

And, some answers more speficially about whether they feel that reading on FunDza has improved their language ability:

• Yes ,I can now be able to read at a much better pace
• Yes because now I can see myself improving in writing essays at school
• Yes because there were some parts of speech which i didnt understand but something is starting to shine a light in my mind.
• The course made me to gain more interest in reading than I was before plus I got to be educated about a lot of things. And also improved my vocabulary and analyzing skills
• Reading stories on Fundza has helped me with the crafting of my own stories.
• I can now boast to my family and friends that I speak better English

At FunDza, we talk as well about how reading can impact and improve your life. We also see in the comments that this is true for many.

• Every story I read on fundza.mobi has a lesson and how to get pass all this troubles teenagers go through. They make me aware. Fundza.mobi is my best friend, she gets me and understands me. (We love this comment!)
• I enjoyed this course alot. I mean I have learnt a lot from the stories that I’ve read so far. It gave me some sense of bravery and to always stand for what is right. It made me feel really amazing. And fundza app is best app on my phone right now.
• It did in a way I don’t know how to describe …I normally sit and be busy with social medias and since I join this course it gave me hope
• It has improved my life. it has made me to be forcased about the thing that build my life than the one that distroys it
• Yes , am a quiet person so the Course help me to be brave and speak my mind
• To be honest, today was the first time I actually told my 5 year old son a story. This course really opened up my eyes and it made me feel like I’m a story teller myself.
• It improved my mentality because I thought I was the only 1 who have problems (one of the gifts of reading in a nutshell…we are not alone)

We know from other data captured in our surveys that many of our readers are unemployed, and we can also see, in these difficult times, that FunDza is quite literally giving them something helpful and positive to do.

• I enjoyed this course as it keeps as it distracts me from the stress of unemployment
• Yes I did enjoy it helped me to improve my grammar and also made me focus on reading after school classes rather than loitering the streets.
• Because I have nothing to do, am always sleeping, as am jobless, it keeps me busy, improved my English
• Yes because everyday instead of thinking about stressful situation I read yh books

Personally, I am also delighted to see that participants feel that the courses themselves – the questions and comprehensions – are helping with developing understanding and deeper reading:

• Yes it improves my reading skills because at first I just read to answer but when times goes on I realized that I have to read to understand so I can answer with confidence and understand what the story it’s all about
• It challenged my thinking ability and how i processed the information of what i read . It motivated me to do better when i got an answer wrong and improved my comprehension skills. As well as my memory.
• in order to answer correctly you need to understand the question and also to read and know the context of the story so it helped me to read and understand before i could answer

In the interests of honesty and transparency, I can say that we get a few negative answers! But these are few and far between, and some of them are even almost as pleasing as the positives. Here are two answers in the negative about whether FunDza has changed their lives in any way:

• No it hasn’t changed my life but it has changed my thinking about many things
• No, it was more of an entertainment than an edutainment. I did not find anything fitting to learn

As we are an online library, at FunDza we spend a lot of time editing and writing on our screens, and we seldom meet our readers, seeing just the little notifications on our site about how many people are currently reading. These comments inspire me and my colleagues every month, as they bring our readers to life, give them a voice, and show us that our work is having an impact on many people’s lives all over the country.