African youth future endangered by dwindling reading culture, group says

Participants at this year’s International Day of the African Child …and Its Youth (IDAY) Nigeria Chapter have resolved to make book readings a culture among children and youths, in a bid to arrest the dwindling culture and in a bid to actualize goal number 2 of the Millennium development Goals in the year 2015.

 

Convened on the theme ‘Read So They May Read’, this year’s commitment to the reading culture was led by two government officials, Mrs. A. E. Achema representing the National Planning Commission and Mr. N. Osaghae from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in a special reading session from the books of rhymes and supported by over 40 others from different sectors of the society.

In a keynote address delivered by Dr. Lanre Adebayo, Executive Director of Initiative for Civic Education (ICE), he urged all stakeholders, particularly civil society organizations and non-state actors to take this year’s theme as a very important challenge as the issue involved bothers on our national development. Further he said the emphasis and focus of this year’s event are two, which include the education of the African child as a subject of concern and the need to develop and sustain a reading culture among the children, youths and the family, as a means to reinventing the dying culture of reading in the society. He therefore called on the government and civil society to partner and sustain a collaborative agenda that will help in tackling the phenomenon.

Some of the participants supported the above submissions and resolutions with goodwill messages. They include Ms. De Evans of the Save the Children Nigeria (UK), Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko of Teachers Without Borders and Dr. Joseph Kariboro of Initiative for the development of Education in the Niger Delta. Others include Hajia Zainab Bagudu Aliyu of Sabil Charitable International Organization (SCIO) Ahmed Badanga of Fire Prevention Environment NGO and David Ochigbo of Youth Action Organization of Nigeria (YAON) .

Several books, writing materials and cash donations were made at the venue. An NGO not represented at the event had pledged to assist IDAY with about one million books and materials of different titles to be sourced Book for Africa Foundation based in the United States of America (USA) while Teachers Without Borders donated 1000 books and a special novel on peace, specifically to encourage reading culture and the content of peace in our society. Sabil Charitable International Organization who is also running the Zero Illiteracy Project (ZIP) with over 200 indigent pupils in Bindawa local government area of Katsina state, Nigeria also donated books and writing materials to support the theme, Barr. Oluchi Agbanyim of Center for Democracy and Development and Mr. Chido Onumah also donated materials.

In a closing remark, the Africa Regional Coordinator of the World Association of Non-GovernmentalOrganisations (WANGO) and national Coordinator of IDAY in Nigeria, Mr. Mohammed Bougei Attahthank the participants with a promise to sustain 2011 IDAY ‘Read So They May Read’ campaign theme as well as give back report on its activities annually especially as it concerns the distributions of the materials donated and with a view to encouraging more Nigerians not only to read for prosperity but also to donate for the cause of education in Nigeria and indeed Africa.

IDAY is a network of African and European organizations, each of which is committed to educational projects in Africa. These organizations are united to make the voice of African civil society heard. The objective is creating a lot of awareness to compel the authorities to ensure that all children of school age are able to complete a full course of primary education by the year 2015. IDAY is hosted in Nigeria by WANGO.

Arc. Nnenna Eluwa
Deputy National Coordinator

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