May 10, 2018—Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) has joined USAID in a new UGX 20 million (about $5400) campaign intended to expand literacy across the country.
Speaking during the handover ceremony on Wednesday the Stanbic Chief Executive Patrick Mweheire said, “Stanbic is committed to transforming lives by promoting sustainable growth. This is the reason why the main focus of our CSI initiatives are in education. Access to quality education is a critical ingredient in helping raise the youth out of poverty by giving them the skills to chart their own path towards prosperity.”
SBU is paying for special cards aimed at primary school pupils which will enhance their reading skills. The durable and simplified reading cards contain stories in local languages suitable for children between five to 10 years of age. The materials have been specially crafted with local content that can be used by the children with their parents, family or on their own as part of their efforts to improve their reading skills.
The handover of the reading cards is part of the bank’s partnership with the USAID/Uganda Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity project being implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) through the learning campaign: Tusomere Wamu.
This is in response to a 2016 study by the Ministry that identified low levels of parental engagement in children’s reading practice at home to be a major cause of low literacy levels in Uganda.
Geri Burkholder, the USAID Chief of Party said, “These results of the study were confirmation of similar research supported by USAID in Malawi and Senegal, which showed that a combination of both in-school and home efforts in support of reading are necessary for early grade literacy. The stories on the cards have been selected by early grade reading experts to build essential reading skills, while engaging children in age appropriate and contextually relevant stories. They provide an easy and efficient way for pupils to master the art of reading at a young age.”
The reading cards will be distributed to pupils in primary schools between classes P1 through P4. Empowering young minds in their developmental years is the main goal by using tools which are children-friendly and interesting.
Consilous Rwanyonga, a Senior Education Specialist with the education ministry said, “The Ministry of Education’s Uganda Learning Campaign: Tusomere wamu is based on pilot initiatives implemented in Mityana District earlier this year. It is informed by the notion that there is a need for greater parental involvement in their children’s reading development.”
She said, “When parents and teachers partner, there are better outcomes for learning. Conversations between parents and children matter, as children’s brains are developing the vocabulary they learn, as well as practice forming sentences prepares them with pre-reading skills. We are therefore asking parents to seize the opportunity to help their children learn to read.”
The cards will be issued to selected schools in Kiboga and Buvuma districts that received fewer cards during the pilot project, relative to their current class enrollment as top districts.
SBU is part of the South African-based Standard Bank Group. As at the end of 2017, the Group assets reached R2 trillion or some $165 billion and a market capitalisation of $28 billion.