The COVID -19 global crisis is having a significant impact of the education of children across Ghana. They have been out of school since March 2020. Their education was completely disrupted for months. The repercussions could be felt in economies, and societies for decades to come. As an organization whose main goal is to strengthen child literacy, We are working to increase our capacity and response to provide children with the learning resources needed to continue their literacy development. We believe child literacy is the foundation for development and also a powerful tool against poverty. If all students in low-income countries had basic reading skills, millions of people could escape extreme poverty. We have come out with a program called community literacy engagement which has after school literacy clubs set up in communities we operate and Book Sharing small library Boxes for communities to help kids continue their literacy development during the pandemic and beyond. The main objective of the Community Literacy Engagement program and the Book sharing Boxes program is to help improve child Literacy in Rural Ghana. We believe Literacy is a powerful tool against poverty.
In Ghana, 90% of pupils in public schools in rural areas cannot read. It is frightening to know those students who cannot read with ease and understanding by the time they enter a high school, are less able to take advantage of future learning opportunities.
A study by World Bank Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project report indicated that only two percent of Grade Two or ‘Primary 2’ pupils in Ghana were able to read at an appropriate grade level with 50 percent unable to recognize a single word.
The Rural Literacy Solutions Community Literacy Engagement program and the Book sharing Boxes program is a practical response to the diagnosed high rate of illiteracy in Ghana especially the rural areas of the Northern part of the country. It is also a contribution towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goals, precisely Goal 4, which is to “ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIFE-LONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL.”
The causes of the high illiteracy rate among other things include factors such as.
1. Teacher deficit in the rural areas
2. Lack of infrastructure
3. Lack of appreciation for literacy
4. Lack of community libraries.
The long-term effect of the high illiteracy rate is that it brings a barrier to continuing education, and employment opportunities in these societies. This is what makes the intervention of Rural Literacy Solutions necessary.
In carrying out our activities, we are working in conjunction with head teachers, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Districts Assemblies and other relevant stakeholders such as community VIP’s, like chiefs and elders.
Rural Literacy Solutions offers after school literacy clubs in primary Schools in northern Ghana. These Clubs are mentored and facilitated by trained specialized literacy teacher. The specialized teacher offer extra literacy support to the beneficiaries twice a week.
We also offer Mini Libraries (Book Sharing boxes) in our beneficiary communities that help the communities in the following ways,
1. It will give children in the community books to practice reading at home.
2. The library also helps students do better in school.
3. It brings new information and knowledge into the community.
4. It also preserves the traditions, stories, music and ideas of the community.
The books sharing boxes are managed by a volunteer we recruit, whose duties are as fellows,
1. Opening and closing the library on time.
2 Helping readers to find books.
3. Explaining and enforcing the library’s rules.
4 Organizing the books in a clear, and consistent way.
5 Taking inventory.
6. Acquiring books.
7. Repairing books.
8. Keeping track of borrowed books.
9. Tracking down overdue, or missing books.
10. Designing and running community programs.
12. Evaluating the library.
13. Making status reports to the library committee and the community.
Our literacy program will continue to help more primary students to become more literate and progress further to higher education. Studies have shown that Literacy is the greatest component of education, before one can progress further to higher education you should be able to read fluently, all subjects in school including mathematics demands reading and understanding. Thus, Rural Literacy Solution helps students to be able to read books within their level. Our target is to help 2 million Ghanaian children to become more literate by 2030.