AIFA Reading Society Commemorated International Literacy Day with activities focused on educating Nigerians on the importance of literacy to sustainable development. As part of the Society’s efforts to encourage reading, the Society participated in live television and radio programmes to raise awareness about the lack of literacy in Nigeria. The Society also organised AIFA Book Club sessions for members and friends, and young professionals.
International Literacy Day, celebrated every year on September 8, highlights the importance of literacy to children and adults around the globe. The theme for 2021 was “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide,” which emphasises bridging the digital divide brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Society commenced its commemorative activities on September 3, 2021, featuring on a live radio programme on Inspiration 92.3FM in Lagos. Joy Lawal, Programme Coordinator, AIFA Reading Society, emphasised the significance of literacy to the Nigerian population by stressing the importance of creating educational opportunities for each member of the Society. She highlighted the role of the Society in bridging the learning gap that exists and has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
During the discussion, Magdaline Oyoroh stated the importance of offering children basic reading opportunities as she shared her childhood story of how such programs impacted her. Joy Lawal urged corporates and individuals to join forces with AIFA Reading Society to promote literacy in Nigeria.
On September 4, 2021, members and friends of the AIFA Book Club met at Muri-Okonula Park, Lagos, to discuss Jennifer Makumbi’s short story “Let’s tell this story properly,” which explored themes of betrayal and deceit, as well as differences in culture and rejection. The Society also organised a game session for the 15 participants.
The Vice President of AIFA Reading Society and CEO of Central Securities Clearing System Plc, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, was featured live on TV Continental News (TVC) on September 8, 2021 to contribute to this year’s International Literacy Day theme. As he stated in the interview, the inability of children to continue learning, which has been prevalent in Nigeria for the last 18 months, is dangerous. According to Mr. Jalo-Waziri, bridging the digital gap in Nigeria is a joint effort between the government and the private sector because the government creates policies that allow private investment in the educational sector.
Mr. Jalo-Waziri emphasised the need to catch up with the world in utilising digital learning tools. “The pros of virtual learning far outweigh the cons. The world has moved, and we must not be left behind…a digital classroom is what we have now, and digital devices have become infrastructures. Children are resilient and easily adapt to changes. With time, they will get used to virtual learning, which makes things easier.”
To conclude the activities, an International Literacy Day book club meeting was held for young professionals at Kenna Partners on September 8, 2021. Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Principal Partner at Kenna Partners, moderated the discussion on three short stories: “A Zen Parable,” “The Doer of Good,” and “The Story of Two Monks and a Woman.”
During the AIFA Book Club held for these young professionals, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Principal Partner of Kenna Partners and Fellow of AIFA Reading Society, encouraged attendees to be deliberate about reading and to encourage others around them to do the same. He reminded the participants of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights — given that UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities. Since every functional society is built on quality education, literacy is the door to the development of such society. He encouraged all in attendance to support the improvement of literacy in Nigeria, as this will lead to Nigerians discovering, revitalizing, inventing unexplored horizons.
AIFA Reading Society, supported by Kenna Partners and Central Securities Clearing System Plc, celebrates literacy because it provides people with life opportunities. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4 – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’