The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners have launched an initiative named “the Global Book Alliance (GBA),” aimed at transforming and advancing current book design, acquisition, distribution and use especially in Africa and Asia, to ensure that students have the books they need in their mother tongue – in order to learn how to read and read to learn.
As an implementation partner on the African continent, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), will provide its contribution to the launch and promotion of this initiative through the stakeholders in the book chain, educationists, communication specialists, and African decision-makers. To this end, the ADEA Working Group on Books and Learning Material (WGBLM) will organize, in close collaboration with the Global Book Alliance and USAID, a series of field activities in 2016 and 2017 across the continent.
The WGBLM has organized in Dakar, Senegal, a first sub-regional meeting on December 14 and 15, 2016, that will bring together representatives from four West African Francophone countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. Each country will be represented by a delegation of four people: a representative of the Ministry of Education, a publisher, a national and local language author, and NGOs dedicated to books and reading in national and local languages.
The Dakar meeting will be the first step in the Global Book Alliance sensitization and advocacy campaign and it will aim at setting up innovative and effective mechanisms within countries for the production, acquisition, distribution, management and use of textbooks and other reading materials in national languages to establish a solid and sustainable groundwork for quality education in schools.
It should be underscored that the key motivation for setting up the Global Book Alliance is linked to the acute shortage of appropriate and attractive reading materials as well as mother tongue readers, which impede improvements in children’s reading skills. Indeed, children are often unable to practice reading in the language they speak and understand the most. Moreover, without the adequate supply of quality reading material, it would be difficult to get girls and boys interested in reading as well as provide them with the possibility of practicing reading, or enable family members to read to them.