Ovie Brume Foundation actively participates in events last year and here are the highlights
4th Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition
The Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition is a partnership project of the Lafarge Africa Plc and Ovie Brume Foundation, with the support of the States Universal Basic Education Board. The project commenced in 2014 with a mobile literacy initiative called “Books on Wheels”, which seeks to increase access to literacy enhancement opportunities. The initiative currently being driven by the Lafarge Africa Volunteers, ensured the distribution of over 10,000 books as well as held over 500 reading sessions for public primary school pupils in Nigeria. To demonstrate and celebrate the impact of “Book on Wheels”, a literacy competition was organized to provide a platform whereby pupils will display as well as improve their literacy skills by competing in literacy related activities. The competition was held in the three geo-political zones where Lafarge Africa Plc plants are located. Today, the Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition is in all states of the federation as the biggest literacy improvement initiative engaging over 20,000 pupils on literacy development initiatives since inception.
The Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition enhances pupil’s language and vocabulary skills with the overall goal of improving the literacy skills (Reading, Writing, Pronunciation and Spelling) of public primary school pupils as well as increase their educational opportunities. Since 2014, Lafarge Africa Plc and the Ovie Brume Foundation have jointly organized the National Literacy Competition to support government efforts in raising the standard of English Language among public primary school pupils aged 9 -13 years.
The theme for the 2017 competition is “Bridging the Literacy Gap”. Implementation kicked off in June 2017 with planning meetings, which brought together all the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) representatives from the 36 states and FCT. This was followed by the state run off competitions, whereby schools compete within their LGAs and senatorial zones up to the state level and emerge with two winners (male and female) who will represent the state at the regionals competitions. The regional competition was held across the six geo-political zones in Abuja, Kano, Abeokuta, Calabar, Gombe and Enugu where states competed and a winner emerges to represent the region at the grand finale. The regional competitions attracted different stakeholders from respective host states, which demonstrated the value placed on literacy development. The Ovie Brume Foundation provided technical input for the competition in the areas of Essay Writing, Spelling Bee and Literacy Assessment, which were used in assessing the pupil’s literacy levels. Representatives of all State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), wives of the governors, World Bank, UNESCO, etc. were in attendance at the regional competitions.
The Grand Finale was held on Thursday, 16th November 2016 where winners from the regional competitions competed. The Finale featured, a Literacy Assessment, Summary Writing and Spelling Bee, conducted by Ovie Brume Foundation. In attendance were, the key note speaker, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili; Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun; MD/CEO, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos; Executive Secretary, Honourable Minister of Education represented by Executive Secretary, NMEC Prof. Abba Haladu, Prof.; Executive Secretary, UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi; directors from the Federal Ministry of Education, chairmen of States SUBEBs, representatives of wives of first ladies of Lagos, Ogun, Cross River and Gombe states, the international community and a host of other stakeholders.
Edo state emerged the winner of the 2017 competition; the team comprised of Yusuf Hassan of Eson Ne Rie Model Primary School, Benin City and Faith Toun-Agbai of Eguare Primary School, Irrua, who were rewarded with the star prize of N250, 000 each. At the second position were Bello Abdulsallam Olamiposi and Abiodun Damilola Folorunsho of SUBEB Model Primary School, Akure, Ondo State who were rewarded with N200, 000 each. While the third position went to Said Usman Abubakar of Yalwa Model Primary School and Hajara Nafiu Abubakar of Race Course Model Primary School, Kano state who were also rewarded with N150, 000 each. The teams from Plateau, Gombe, and Anambra states were 3rd, 4th and 5th positions respectively and got a cash price of N100, 000 each.
A Creative Writing and Managing School Based Literacy Intervention training was organized for the pupils, teachers and SUBEBs representatives on 17th November 2017. The training was facilitated by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
According to Adeola Awogbemi, Executive Director of the Ovie Brume Foundation, parents, librarians, educators and citizens, all have a role to play in instilling in our children a love of reading so that we can give them the chance to fulfil their dreams. Hence, it is important for all stakeholders to join hands together to promote literacy in Nigeria. She affirmed that reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible, from complex word problems and the meaning of our history to scientific discoveries and technological proficiency. She further stressed the need to showcase the important role of civil society organizations in the development process and the impact of public and private partnerships.
The previous three editions of the Lafarge National Literacy Competition had Akwa Ibom state winning in 2014, Rivers in 2015 and Lagos in 2016. Since inception, over 200,000 primary school pupils across 525 local government areas (LGAs) have been impacted. The 2017 competition directly reached over 25, 000 pupils compared to over 7,000 in 2016; a total of 3,912 pupils contested in the competition from the LGA contests to grand finale.