Former UIL Scholar celebrates progress on improving national book policies in Africa


© Ulrike Hanemann
13 February 2018

The Global Book Alliance (GBA), which promotes the development of mother-tongue reading materials, held its first regional workshop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 22 to 25 January 2018. Representatives from one lusophone, 10 francophone and 10 anglophone countries in Africa gathered to learn more about the GBA and the importance of improving national book policies.

Ms Lily Nyariki, a former scholar of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and the current focal point for the ADEA Working Group on Books and Learning Materials (WGBLM) for anglophone countries, has been one of the key drivers for this initiative and was one of the main organizers of the workshop. During her UIL scholarship in September 2016, Ms Nyariki worked on a concept to further national book policies and advocate for a national book development Council. Based on this work, she held a keynote presentation for the 2017 ADEA Triennale (Republic of Senegal, March 2017), making the case for the need for national book and reading policies in Africa. The recently launched GBA is an important milestone to advance such policies. It particularly seeks to address the serious lack of reading materials in local languages and aims to transform book development, procurement and distribution, especially in Africa and Asia.  

The Abidjan workshop addressed these issues and elaborated ways to institute innovative and effective mechanisms to provide local language reading materials in an action plan. It addresses production, acquisition, distribution, and the management and use of textbooks and other reading materials in local languages. The workshop was organized by the WGBLM in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), who sponsored the event.

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