Engage Now Africa (ENA), an NGO that is active in efforts to improve the living conditions of poor and marginalised in Africa, has called for stronger state-led efforts to improve literacy among Ghanaians.
Ghana Director of ENA, Cecilia Amankwah, says that literacy borders on both human rights and human dignity.
“I’m yet to read or hear that a nation developed without the implicit role of education. I am also waiting to be told how a country ignored a section of her population who by no fault of theirs could not acquire formal education was overlooked and yet developed. This can be described as a half-illuminated nation and the other in perpetual darkness,” said Cecilia Amankwah.
Mrs Amankwah made the comments on Friday, September 8, 2023, when ENA marked this year’s International Literacy Day in Ghana at Kadjebi in the Oti Region.
The 56th International Literacy Day celebration in Ghana was on the theme, “Promoting Literacy for a World in Transition: Building the Foundation for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies.”
Speaking at the event to mark the Day, Amankwah said illiteracy imprisons citizens to ignorance and exacerbates poverty.
The event was attended by government in education and other key stakeholders.
“Illiteracy is shackling, and it is literacy that will liberate the shackled. Hence, I strongly believe in what Franklin Douglas once said: ‘When you learn to read, you will be forever free,'” she said.
While commending Ghana’s Education Ministry for collaborating with ENA to improve literacy among Ghanaians, Cecilia Amankwah noted that more work still needs to be done.
“Attaining Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 can significantly impact the other 16 goals. It explains why we need to go to work to accelerate this set target. Though we are all aware of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on literacy, we must gather momentum to change the narrative,” she admonished.
She disclosed that Engage Now Africa remains determined to consciously send literacy to every nuke and cranny of the country.
Engage Now Africa operates in 271 communities in 14 Regions out of the 16 in the country.
Some enrolled 13, 211 adult literates have been enrolled under ENA’s adult education programme, with 7,647 learners having successfully graduated.
“Our zeal is in the belief that no one should be left behind. We will do our very best to carry along those who are beneficiaries of the programmes,” said Cecilia Amankwah.
ENA’s Manager for the Adult Literacy programme, Richmond Adu-Gyamfi, explained that the NGO chose to mark this year’s International Literacy Day in the Oti Region because of high prevalence of illetarcy, especially among women.
“Kadjebi doesn’t have an adult education and literacy programme, so we thought that celebrating this year’s event here will present ENA with the opportunity to introduce the programme after today,” he told journalists.
The 56th International Literacy Day celebration in Ghana was organised by the Engage Now Africa in partnership with the Complementary Education Agency and UNESCO.
International Literacy Day has been celebrated annually across the globe since 1967 to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.
According to the UN, despite steady progress made across the world, literacy challenges persist.
At least 763 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills in 2020, the UN has said.