Wednesday, 7 April 2021

In School But Not Reading: Bridging The Reading Gap Through The Book Drive Campaign

 ‘’That’s my boy’’!!! Shouted Mr Wuba clement, headteacher of Gwara Community Primary School while 10 –year- old Daniel Monsi, a primary 5 pupil of the aforementioned school read the book titled ‘Kunle the village boy’ and was given a book as a price for his brilliance.  Daniel lives with his mum, who lost her husband when Daniel was a toddler. Mrs Monsi and her five children rely on the small produce they get from their farm for feeding, which is not enough to feed the family. Daniel covers a long distance to school every day, as affording the two hundred Naira transport fare for a motorbike is exorbitant for his mum. Thus, he and his peers have to trek a long distance to school, and back home. Daniel, like some other beneficiaries of the Book Drive Campaign, told our team that ‘’ he has never seen a storybook before, nor own one’’. 

The saying that Africans don’t read is a myth. During the course of our Book Drive Campaign, we have come to understand that it is the unavailability of books that make it seem that Nigerians don’t read. 

Schools in rural areas tend to face a unique set of challenges when it comes to quality education. Long commutes, sparse access to books, teacher/resource shortages. The United Nations Children Economic Fund (UNICEF) reports that even though primary education is officially free and compulsory in Nigeria, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Out of the 262 million children out of school today, 10.5 million of them are in Nigeria and some of them never enrolled or did not complete primary education.

The education deprivation in Nigeria is driven by various factors, including cultural norms, socio-economic barriers such as early marriage, female genital mutilation, child labour and the likes; that hinders the attainment of formal education in predominant rural/underserved areas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Multiple indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), about 50.8 per cent of children in Nigeria, aged between 5 and 17, are involved in child labour. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as ‘work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development. It refers to work that: is mentally, physically, socially and morally dangerous to children; and/or interferes with their schooling. 

Few adults engage in activities that promote learning. The involvement of a biological father and mother in activities that support early childhood learning in rural areas is low. Most children lack access to books in their household. Only 5.6 per cent of children involved in a survey conducted by MISC live in households where there are at least three children’s books accessible to the child.  

The 2021 Book Drive Campaign is a project launched by KIR Foundation on her 10th Anniversary with the holy grail of setting up 50 reading corners in the 36 states of Nigeria and its capital, Abuja. The Book Drive has a focus on enkindling the reading culture among children in underserved and marginalized community primary schools.

To bridge the gap in education especially in rural and/or underserved areas KIR Foundation drove her 2021 Book Drive Campaign train to Gwara Community Primary School, in Khana local government area of Ogoni, River State through Rotary Club Oyigbo, one of our implementing partners for the campaign.  As a beneficiary of the Book Drive Campaign, Gwara Community School received a bookshelf fully stocked with 173 books (150 storybooks and 23 textbooks). The pupils were overwhelmed with joy having to see some of the kid shows they watch on television in book format. For the pupils and teachers, it was a thing of joy for them to have a mini library set up for them for it is the first time they have ever received a generous gift.  

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation

Author & Editor

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation is a disability-inclusive organization that donates books, teaches skills and advocates the rights of our beneficiaries especially those with disabilities. Since 2011 we have reached over 30,046 people and donated over 26,000 books by inspiring change through learning. Send us an email:


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