A four-year project aiming at improving the reading culture among students through strengthening partnerships between schools and the community has been launched in Gicumbi District.
The project, dubbed ‘Mureke Dusome’, loosely translated as ‘let’s read’, is a school-community partnerships for education initiative.
It is an initiative by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Save the Children and the government of Rwanda.
The launch, held at Byumba Catholic Primary School, brought together district and sector education officials, religious and community leaders, head teachers, parents, and children, among others, to highlight the importance of literacy and everyone’s role in ensuring that children learn to read at early age.
The project will see education officials at the district and sector level, head teachers and parents, acquire training on how to work together to facilitate the children to have reading sessions at community level and boost their skills at early age, according to the officials.
The programme targets children from primary level1 to level 3, and according to the officials, this is a critical stage that can affect the entire life of children when not provided with a good foundation.
Local leaders, educationalists and parents welcomed the project, saying it would help the children develop the culture of reading while still young, thus leading them to pass in other subjects.
Charlotte Benihirwe, the Gicumbi District vice mayor for social affairs, said the programme was overdue, adding that it will boost quality education and curb the school dropout rates.
“This programme will boost the quality of education as the children will be helped to develop the culture of reading at an early age. It will also help in checking the school dropout as the whole community is involved,” she said.
Marcia Musisi-Nkambwe, the mission director of USAID-Rwanda, said there is need to cultivate a reading culture among the children at an early age, especially in their mother tongue, as it helps them learn other languages more easily.
“Developing strong reading skills in Kinyarwanda during the first years of primary school will assist children in all future learning,” she said.
Musisi-Nkambwe called on parents and community leaders to encourage children to read outside school.
“Reading story books together at home is an important activity for parents to share with their children,” she said.
Alex Alubisia, the project chief of party, said they hope to improve literacy for children in lower primary by fostering partnerships between schools and the broader community via three core activities, mainly, school leadership, community and parental involvement and fostering the culture of reading
He said the project will be implemented by Save the Children in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board throughout the whole country.