The United Nations System in Namibia (UN Namibia) handed over books to children and reiterated the importance of literacy at Read Namibia’s UN Plaza Readathon on 16 September 2017.
Read Namibia, which aims to educate young learners and give them the skills and knowledge needed to become global citizens, is made up of a diverse group of partners including the Association of Diplomatic Spouses (ADS), the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Namibia (UNAM).
Speaking at the Readathon, the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) to Namibia, Kiki Gbeho highlighted the importance of reading and attributed her success to literacy. “I am where I am today because of reading,” she stated.
The UNRC further explained what the UN is and its work in Namibia. Literacy and quality education has been on the forefront of the UN’s development agenda globally and in Namibia. Specifically, Goal 4 ‘Quality Education’ of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to increase literacy around the globe by 2030 and through the Education and Skills Pillar of the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2014-2018, the UN works with Government to address education challenges.
To get the crowd excited about reading, the UNRC read How the Giraffe Got So Tall by Abby Long to the children.
Maria Hiwilepo, a pilot for Air Namibia, also spoke at the event, encouraging the children to follow their dreams, work hard, stay in school and have the foresight to think ahead towards their future.
Following the speeches, the children read books in groups, wrote their own stories and played word games. The children received donated books as prizes and gifts to take home from UN Namibia, which were the result of a UN Staff book drive held the week before.
Read Namibia collaborates with volunteers from Embassies and High Commissions in Namibia, local libraries, schools and private sector partners to host reading events and donate reading materials to young learners. While inspiring a love of reading in the younger generation, Read Namibia hopes that it can help combat illiteracy and promote quality education in an effort to transform Namibia into a knowledge-based society.