The official launch of Read Namibia’s Readathon activities took place on 6 September where all partners gathered at the National Library of Namibia to kick start this year’s reading campaign. Speakers discussed the importance of reading and nostalgic ties that reading has with childhood. Reflective questions such as do you remember being read to as a child, allowed attendees to relate back to memories of sitting on their parents’ laps with a book, being read to at a local library as well as the first book they ever read. Memories such as these are often deeply ingrained in our childhoods and, in many ways, shape who we are.
The Readathon campaign is spearheaded by Read Namibia, a broad coalition of businesses, teachers, librarians, booksellers, cultural organizations, and diplomats. Together the coalition are working with the Ministry of Education to promote a culture of reading in Namibia.
At the launch, Mrs. Melinda Burrell from the Association of Diplomatic Spouses (ADS) introduced September’s Read Namibia activities including events being hosted at the UN Plaza where the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Kiki Ghebo, will speak and read to children at the event. Representing the UN System in Namibia at the launch, Ms. Anthea Basson from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek added that the UNRC will hand over books on 16 September at the UN Plaza collected during an internal book drive by the UN in Namibia staff. The United Nation’s participation in this year’s readathon events demonstrates the UN’s commitment to the SDGs and highlights the importance of quality education in Namibia.
Mr. Eli Manga, Acting Director of Namibia’s National Library and Archive Services stated, “Reading is the window to the world for children and as adults we must open that window.” Mr. Manga highlighted the adult responsibility to share reading with everyone. Mr. Steve Kaangundue, Deputy Director of Lifelong Learning and Community Development echoed this sentiment in his statement, “Reading is the foundation of all forms of learning. Books are the doors to knowledge and we all bare the responsibility of sharing reading to all, especially in line with the SDGs and SDG #4, Quality Education for all.” Mr. Kaangundue’s mention of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals especially draws attention to the continued UN efforts to ensure everyone has access to the quality education that they deserve.
Read Namibia aims to ensure that all citizens are well poised to take up the challenges of operating within a knowledge economy and are able to compete multi-nationally as Namibia continues to develop and prosper (Read Namibia 2017). “Reading with all its benefits to learners should be encouraged at all levels. As parents, educators and librarians, we all have a crucial role to play to establish a love of reading in our younger generations.” This project aims to create a brighter future for young Namibians through the encouragement of reading and the spread of knowledge.
 Read Namibia website: https://readnamibia.wordpress.com/