As part of its commitment to transforming lives in communities, Stanbic Bank Uganda – Uganda’s biggest bank – has, in partnership with USAID, supported a key literacy initiative with the handover of reading cards worth Shs20 million aimed to provide primary school pupils with reading materials.
The durable and simplified reading cards contain stories in local languages relevant for children between 5 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.
“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,” Patrick Mweheire, the Stanbic chief executive, said at the handover ceremony.
“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,” added Mr Mweheire.
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 through the learning campaign: Tusomere Wamu.
The campaign was started 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: “The 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 1 through 4. The goal of the initiative is to empower young minds in their developmental years through tools which are children friendly and interesting.
Tusomere Wamu, the learning campaign, “is based on pilot initiatives implemented in Mityana District earlier this year,” Consilous Rwanyonga, a senior education specialist with the ministry of education said.
“It is informed by the notion that there is a need for greater parental involvement in their children’s reading development,” Ms Rwanyonga added. “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.”
The cards will be issued to selected schools in Kiboga and Buvuma districts that received fewer cards during the pilot initiatives relative to their current class enrolment.