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28.10.2003 Regional News

ActionAid supports functional literacy programme

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Tamale, October 28, GNA- ActionAid Ghana, a British NGO, has built 15 school buildings in the Tamale Metropolis and Tolon/Kumbungu District for functional literacy classes.

The organization has, in addition, organised training courses for the literacy programme facilitators and the communities to complement the efforts of the government in promoting functional literacy in the country.

Mr Abdulai Habib Mohammed, Senior Programme Officer of ActionAid said this at this year's regional celebration of the "International Literacy Week" held in Tamale on Tuesday.

The Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) of the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with ActionAid, organised the Week, which had the theme: "Community participation and ownership - The way to sustainable literacy". a forum for stakeholders in education, to brainstorm on the way forward to promote functional literacy in the country.

Speaking on: "Literacy, a tool for community mobilisation and development", Mr Mohammed said illiteracy is the root cause of poverty and injustice in the society. "Illiterates cannot assert themselves and therefore remain in a culture of silence", he said, adding that by acquiring literacy skills they become capable of participating meaningfully in discussions on matters affecting their communities and the nation. He said the functional literacy programme should not end at equipping the people with reading and writing skills but it must also impart knowledge that would enable the beneficiaries to critically analyse issues to be able to make informed decisions.

Mr Peter Wangara Amoak, Assistant Literacy Programme Manager of Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), stressed the need to involve beneficiaries of the programme in projects being initiated by NGOs and stakeholders in functional literacy. Mr Amoak suggested the establishment of literacy committees, capacity building of their staff and the setting up of rural newspapers in the local languages as a way of ensuring the sustainability of the functional literacy programme.

Mr Francis Adjei, a resource person from the Tamale Worker's college, said the development of the country could be enhanced if the functional literacy programme is extended to a large portion of the population. He said, for instance, that the modernisation of agriculture could not be effected without well-informed and trained farmers, while similarly, the provision of quality health services in the rural areas would not be achieved if the people could not read and write to appreciate the benefits of maintaining basic hygienic practices. He said graduates of the literacy programme had been rendering voluntary services to the communities and are also being used by organizations such as the Ministry of Health and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) as entry points to effectively communicate their messages to the people.

Mr Iddrisu Adam, Tamale Metropolitan District Chief Executive who chaired the function, appealed to people not to see government's investment in non-formal education as a waste of funds.

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