ADEA celebrates International Literacy Day – 8th September 2021

Photo: Aminata Siahoué

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) recognises the need to improve literacy to meet the demand for education for children and adults especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period where disruptions to learning have become a concern for governments around the world. ADEA has endeavoured to maintain the pace by monitoring progress and collaborating with like-minded institutions and organisations to ensure that children in Africa receive the education they deserve despite the pandemic. To mark this year’s International Literacy Day, we take stock of our efforts in improving and sustaining literacy for African children in school and at home.

Translate A Story Initiative

To make quality early-grade reading materials available in a variety of languages, ADEA joined several partners (i.e. African Storybook, Creative Commons, Global Book Alliance (GBA), Global Digital Library (GDL), Learning Equality, NORAD, Pratham Book's Story Weaver, The Asia Foundation, UNESCO, UNHCR, and Verizon) in co-organizing a month-long virtual translation initiative until April 2020 – known as #TranslateAStoryThe translated books are available on the Global Digital Library (GDL).

In addition, GDL, funded by Norway, collaborated with ADEA and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to help translate digital storybooks for early learners  from English into Kinyarwanda and Swahili. The translation, based on the curriculum and carried out by Ministry of Education staff, was approved for use in classrooms by that same ministry. The translated books are available on GDL and REB web platform as well.

Albert Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary of ADEA, stressed that in Africa, families should encourage reading, specifically for children at home. Therefore, ADEA hopes to engage more countries in this initiative from September 2021.

Both NORAD and ADEA are members of the Global Book Alliance, a partnership of donor agencies, multilateral institutions, and civil society organizations committed to bringing books to every child in the world by 2030 through coordinated efforts to shape the book market.

Advocacy For National Book and Reading Policies

The African Union Commission (AUC) commissioned the Continental Framework on Book and Reading Policy Formulation in Africa in 2009 and ADEA’s Books and Learning Materials (BLM) section of the Inter-Country Quality Node on Teaching and Learning (ICQN-TL) revised the continental framework in 2019.

In order to effectively and efficiently support ADEA member countries to adopt the continental framework and to formulate their national book and reading policies, the ADEA ICQN-TL/BLM section has developed a Toolkit, along with supporting documents (the continental framework, brochure and questionnaire), that will serve as a quick reference guide to stakeholders to clearly understand the need for the policy and the process for systematic and coherent formulation and implementation of a National Book and Reading Policy (NBRP).

Improving literacy calls for a sustained partnership momentum between government, experts, civil society, institutions, technical and financial partners, and the beneficiaries themselves. ADEA will continue to engage ministries of education and related government ministries and departments, development partners and other stakeholders in the book industries to ensure that reading needs of children and adults are catered for as we move into the future.

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