On Friday, 19 November, Umuhuza Organisation hosted a delegation from the Canadian High Commission and Right To Play delegates for a field visit in Bugesera District, Ntarama Sector where the team took time to visit Kingabo Reading Club, home visit with reading corner and community library and interacted with children, parents, community literacy volunteers and local officials as well.
Kingabo Reading Cub is a community place that offers children the chance to participate in fun, engaging literacy activities outside the school environment. Youth and adult volunteers act as leaders for younger children as they participate in a variety of entertaining activities designed to increase their reading abilities and foster a love of learning.
It was established by Umuhuza organisation in October 2020, in partnership with Right To Play under the GREAT project (Gender- Responsive Education and Transformation) which endeavours to improve quality education for girls and boys at the primary school level through a sustainable and replicable child-centered, play-based learning model, part of the Global Affairs Canada Fund.
The reading club operates in both outdoors and indoors depending on the weather and the cell office availed a space for indoor activities in its premises and it is facilitated by 2 community literacy volunteers, 1 female and 1 male, who were trained by Umuhuza in partnership with Right to Play on reading clubs management, Play Based Learning and Gender Dynamics back in July and August, 2020.
Since its establishment, Kingabo reading club has registered a total number of 65 children including 42 girls and 23 boys.
These children attend reading activities twice a week after school programs. They also develop their reading skills and embrace the reading culture from reading Corners-a child set aside space at home with reading materials including books, cardboard, paper, nail, string, scissors; markers of different colors Sample book, word picture cards, letter picture puzzles, and lettered bottle tops.
In addition, parents who graduated from family literacy parental awareness workshops join the trained community literacy volunteers to collaborate in supporting the reading clubs, and offer their support such as ensuring the management of children, read books with/for children and offer any noticed backup to volunteers to ensure the effectiveness and smooth run of the reading club.
Mathilde Kayitesi, the Executive Director of Umuhuza Organisation, welcomed the guests and commended the volunteers and community’s role in protecting and taking advantage of the opportunities offered.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation during the field visit, Annie Njuguna shared the experience of the visit.
“Children’s learning session was very exciting and it’s also quite exciting to see how young children are able to read. We are very happy for the opportunity to come and paid a visit. Promoting reading culture is a very good initiative that can be replicated in other countries,”Njuguna noted.
Mary Khozi, Country Director for Right To Play Rwanda, said that the visit was important to help the donor from Canada experience what is happening in the field.
“Our donor would see our different programmes through documentation and it was a great opportunity to have the delegates down on the field to experience what is happening under our Gender Responsive Education and Transformation (GREAT) Project,” the Director said.
Khozi added: “I am impressed. We see things on paper and sometimes we miss a chance to come to the scene but I was impressed by the reading club. We saw how children are engaged, gender dimension, and the integration of boys and girls equally, without feeling any barriers and even involvement of community volunteers in facilitating.”
She highlighted the community’s ownership and motivation for the programme, saying it was something that they had embraced and they are happy to take it up.
“It was great to see the reading corner at parents’ home. It’s not just limited to the club but also taken to home and that linkage is very important for the project. It encourages sustainability and strengthens the children’s reading culture. The library is a resource that demonstrates our partnership with government to ensure that structures are in place where we can actually utilize them to support the community.”