International literacy day and my community
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International literacy day and my community

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Brought home to my community in Ndokwa West Local Government Area, an oil bearing community in Delta State, International Literacy Day means more than being able to read, write and count. Of course ...

Brought home to my community in Ndokwa West Local Government Area, an oil bearing community in Delta State, International Literacy Day means more than being able to read, write and count. Of course there are lots of people that can do all that. What it should mean in my community is empowerment.

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    International literacy day and my community International literacy day and my community Document Transcript

    • International Literacy Day and My CommunityIt is yet another September 8, a date set aside by the United Nations asthe International Literacy Day to raise international awareness of andconcern for literacy problems within communities. First celebrated in 1996,the day reminds the international community of the status of literacy andadult learning globally.Brought home to my community in Ndokwa West Local Government Area, anoil bearing community in Delta State, International Literacy Day means morethan being able to read, write and count. Of course there are lots of peoplethat can do all that. What it should mean in my community is empowerment.Nature’s endowment in oil reserves has attracted oil and gas companies tothe area including the location of a thermal gas power station in the nearbytown of Okpai. Also, sundry businesses ranging from banking to hospitalityhave situated in its major towns and especially, the council headquarters,Kwale. Furthermore, while Politicians jostle for positions and leaders ofthought prepare to engage the community in the scheme of things in theoverall national polity, are the local people equipped enough to tap intothe opportunities that would be available in their immediate community,the state and nation at large?In my candid opinion, literacy centres, libraries and media resource centresshould be set up in major towns in the community to provide tools andresources for knowledge empowerment. Literacy benefits both individualsand communities. Literacy is the fountain of knowledge and knowledge ispower. Idle youths in the community are easy preys by Politicians. Also theyengage in illicit businesses with a growing tendency to engage in robbery,rape, avoidable communal clashes and social malaise etc.Such centres provide platforms for community regeneration and renewal forgrowth and prosperity. It returns the youths to normal paths todevelopment and exposes them to literature and information materials thatwould renew their minds.
    • Reading makes a Man, it has been said. Learning to read boosts self-esteemand provides important new skills. In many parts of the world, new literatesnow qualify for desirable jobs which had previously gone to outsiders.Ample opportunities exist in the local community including agriculture wherelearning new skills would expose the population to better agriculturaltechniques; opportunities exist in oil and gas companies in the area beggingto be filled but for lack of qualified manpower. Opportunities also exist forancillary businesses that serve as feeders to the burgeoning oil sector thatcan be tapped into if there were enough information on what to do and how.The community has in recent times witnessed the growth in the number offinancial institutions locating in the area. Again, securing jobs in the bankswould entail getting good education and choosing the right career.Complaints on marginalization in the state and federal civil service is halfsolved when there are personnel ready to go on day one.Centres of this nature provide reading materials and information guide onvocations and professions that would benefit the youths and adults in thecommunity such as agriculture, health, safety and environment matters,security issues, maritime, transport, hospitality and leisure studies amongstothers. The Centres provide resource materials for students in theeducational institutions located in the community and beyond.It is also commonplace for seminars and workshops to be held in suchcentres to boost the morale of the local people and to give them a sense ofdirection as they look up to some of the resource people to providementoring services. The centres offer outreach platforms to disseminateinformation to the youths on drugs use/abuse, militancy, careers, lifestylesand personal development. It serves as an oasis for people in and outside ofthe community that seek information or to conduct research on local issues.Literacy is the key tool in reducing poverty. Its effects extend beyondpersonal benefits and are priceless. It has the ingredients that will givepeople newfound confidence and improved self-esteem that will spill into allaspects of their lives and the communities to which they belong. 2
    • Our hope is that our governments, companies operating in the community andwell meaning Nigerians would support communities, for example, NdokwaWest Local Government Area with knowledge based resource centres. By sodoing, there would not be doubts on whether the UN Millennium DevelopmentGoals are achievable in 2015.The writer, Ndudi Osakwe has proposed a library and media resource centreto be situated in Kwale, Ndokwa West Local Government Area, Delta Stateand named after Late Mr. Ossai Osakwe, a pioneer educator of repute. Hemade sure his people were literate at a time when being literate was not apopular choice in his community.Send your comments to nosakwe@ibgnigeria.com 3