Literacy in Africa

Meaning of the word literacy is the ability to write and, of course, read – the base of learning. We learn not just at school or university, we are learning in every step of the life. When we are talking with other we get information, we remember it, we ask questions. We read instructions, recipes, we surf the internet. We learn a habit to read and understand.

Have you ever caught yourself reading a label while eating? To be able to do that means that we literate.

Literacy is measured by percentage rate. How many people in certain area of the world can write and read. Global number for men is around ninety percent and for women it is lower- 82,7%. This rate in Africa is very different in every country. In South Africa it is ninety three percent, but in Cape Verde is just 84,9%. In the face of such difference and, of course, because of the need to get that rate up, there are a lot of projects that helps to do that. One of that project is called African Library project.

African Library project

This project is nonprofit organization. Shortened as ALP, it is all about creating and improving libraries in rural Africa areas. It is already helping for children and even adults, offering opportunities to learn more about the world in general. Book is the key to the growing literacy in the country, that is why volunteers from and in United States and Canada are working towards the goal to build more libraries. Library project started while the founder, Chris Bradshaw, was travelling around Africa with her family and faced illiteracy issue. Her son read a book on vacation and she asked a guide about libraries in the area. Guide said that there is one in the city. When Chris went to search for one, she could not find it. People in village said that they do not know how to get books for library. She was upset about that and offered her help to bring not just the books but all the equipment and, was inspired to find a team to do that, and thus created this project.

A Zimbabwean newspaper vendor reads a state owned paper headlined “Cholera hits city suburbs”, 31 January 2007 in Harare. Cholera has infected at least 10 people in two teeming suburbs of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare following a breakdown in municipal services. AFP PHOTO / Desmond Kwande

Now the project is operated by many of people. American Library project volunteers to collect donated books and ship them in containers to the Africa. Partners distribute received books around the continent because small library needs around 1000 books.

Reached Goals of ALP

The project is growing every year and now:

  • Donors and volunteers completed more than 2000 libraries in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and other more rural areas African.
  • More than 1,500 partnerships with United States education organizations were created.
  • People from around the whole world donated two million books.
  • 6 Conferences about the project were organized around the Africa.

Even though literacy rate is still lower in some African countries that global one, but there are more projects and more people, like Chris Bradshow, who are fighting against illiteracy and helping everyone, from a little child or even the elderly, to become more educated through books.