UN System promotes culture of reading at Readathon kickoff

Readathon 1Each year, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Association of Diplomatic Spouses and other stakeholders run the September Readathon in order to promote a culture of reading throughout the country.

Yesterday, the Readathon’s kickoff was held at the Katutura Public Library where learners of a variety of ages took part in various educational activities. Students read books together, took part in a fun spelling bee and completed educational quizzes, to name a few of the activities. The learners were smiling as they gained new knowledge through reading.

Readathon 2The UN System in Namibia, namely the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and the Office of the Resident Coordinator (RCO) took part in the kickoff and promoted reading among the learners.

UNIC Windhoek read its story Frida and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to grade seven learners. Listening intently, the students asked questions about the storyline as well as offered definitions to new vocabulary words included in the story, including the words ‘galore’, ‘depleted’ and ‘poaching’.

readathon 6In the story, Frida and her classmates visit the UN House in Klein Windhoek, Namibia. After hearing about the United Nations and its work, Frida wants to change the world but she thinks that she is too young to be able to. The United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) to Namibia tells her that she can bring about positive change by working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in her life. Frida listens as the UNRC describes all the SDGs. That night, Frida goes home and encourages her family to achieve the SDGs in their daily lives as well.

At the end of the story Frida says, “Let’s put our heads together! Everyone! You and me! Because together we can achieve the SDGs!”

Readathon 4After listening to Frida’s story, the learners had the opportunity to put their heads together to achieve the SDGs by illustrating the story.

Each learner was given a different part of the story and tasked with using their creativity to draw a picture. The very talented learners drew a sun and solar panels to promote clean energy, people holding hands to depict equality and even intricate sketches of some of Namibia’s wildlife, namely rhino and elephants, to show the importance of preventing poaching. Not only did the leaners add their personal touch to the story, but they also learned and proposed different ways that they can achieve the SDGs, just as Frida did in the story.

readathon 7UNIC Windhoek will use the illustrations and publish Frida and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for other children to read.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Kiki Gbeho also read a story to the children at the Readathon. Captivated by the story, the learners paid very close attention to Ms. Gbeho as she read. They also asked her many questions about the United Nations, and a few students even mentioned that they wanted to grow up to be like her and to work for the UN.

readathon 9At the end of the day, the students left the Katutura Public Library smiling with new knowledge and a love of reading. The Readathon continues for the month of September, and the UN System in Namibia hopes that a culture of reading will continue to spread across the Land of the Brave.