Rwanda on Monday marked World Book Day in an event held in Kicukiro District where Government, in partnership with different stakeholders brought children together to discover the pleasure of reading.
Designated by UNESCO, World Book Day is an annual celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading.
The event that was organized by government through partnership with Rwanda Reads, an initiative dedicated to promoting a culture of reading and literacy in the country, together with USAID through their Soma Umenye initiative.
Prior to the actual celebrations, local reading competitions were organized throughout the country for children to read books aloud, demonstrating their fluency while sharing stories with their peers and the community.
The activities highlighted the power of books to promote a Rwandan vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens.
“We are turning millions of children into millions of readers,” explained USAID Soma Umenye Chief of Party, Stephen Blunden.
USAID Soma Umenye is supporting the Government of Rwanda to ensure that students in Rwanda acquire the fundamental competency of literacy in Kinyarwanda by the end of Grade 3, so that they can succeed in future schooling.
Since February 2018, USAID Soma Umenye has distributed more than 500 bookshelves and the accompanying supplementary reading materials to primary schools across the country.
Blunden explained that the supplementary reading materials offer stories that are of interest to young students and are written in Kinyarwanda at reading levels appropriate to beginning readers in P1 classes.
In close collaboration with REB, USAID is planning to distribute more than 10 million reading materials this year.
The Director General of REB, Dr. Irénée Ndayambaje acknowledged the contribution of USAID to build the capacity of people and systems in Rwanda to adopt and sustain improvements in reading outcomes.