The philanthropic arm of Australian based tertiary learning institution Ducere has committed to a world first humanitarian effort as part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) official ‘Commitment to Action’ program.
The World Leaders Partner to Deliver 250k Books to Africa initiative aims to tackle illiteracy in Southern Africa and will encompass the publishing and distribution of 250,000 books that will see African youth contributing their stories to create culturally relevant literature in the region.
Ducere’s 1.8M initiative will document the rich oral tradition of local cultural stories so they don’t get lost, cultivate pride for the future leaders of the country and connect African communities closer through the learning of different stories across the continent.
As part of the initiative, Ducere is inviting interested CGI membership to share their story too, joining its existing global faculty of leaders to not only help support educational development, but also reduce the rates of illiteracy across the continent. By participating in a 45-minute interview, participants’ stories will be featured in 5000 readers to acknowledge their support.
Ducere Foundation has established the World Leaders Partner to Deliver 250k Books to Africa program to acknowledge the predicament of wanting to maintain respect for Africa’s rich oral history, while making headway in empowering communities through education.
Across Africa, oral story telling holds immense cultural significance for binding communities together and imparting knowledge to young and old by communicating codes of behavior and maintaining social order.
The startling figure of illiteracy however, with UNESCO drawing the number presently at one in three adults being illiterate, has been determined as a key barrier for economic development in the region.
Through local country network partnerships, the Ducere Foundation will publish and distribute a minimum of 21,000 books every month, to other students across Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana and Mauritius.
The project came to fruition when Ducere’s founder and executive director, Mathew Jacobson discovered a disconnect between what was needed and what was presently taking place in sub-Saharan Africa with regards to initiatives tackling its illiteracy crises.
Mr Jacobson has found that of the children in Africa that make it to school, access to African literature is limited, with a greater pool of books being authored by British, American and French writers. An ethical dilemma has arisen where traditional stories and cultural heritage have been lost with each successive generation, as communities and NGO’s race to tackle the extremely low literacy rates in African nations.
“When undertaking initiatives, especially educational ones, that have a direct link to influencing values, we must be mindful of what impact the project will have on the community’s social and cultural history into the future,” Mat Jacobson said.
“From this perspective, it’s essential to acknowledge that education should be relevant and sympathetic to the cultural context of the audience, rather than merely placing all emphasis on seeking arbitrary figures to move literacy forward.”
Working with local governments and foundations in Africa, the Ducere Foundation will move to improve the quality of education in Southern Africa, in addition to establishing the Ducere Publishing House that will publish books for children, written by children.
“Engaging and collaborating are key steps to developing an understanding of language, which is how our World Leaders Partner to Deliver 250k Books to Africa commitment will seed change into the future,” Mathew Jacobson said.
“Education is at the source of empowering communities and we see this investment in Africa as invaluable for the continent thriving into the future.”