The Custodians of African Literature (COAL) embarked on a pre-program survey exercise in January 2020, the first step to her COAL school club project. The COAL Literary school club project is aimed at improving literacy and reading culture among children and young adults in our quest to bridge the education inequity gap through books and positive youth and adult partnership. Our goal is to encourage a reading culture among secondary school students; introduce them to books outside their curriculum, especially books that will encourage their passion for literary arts such as poetry, fiction and speech writing, public speaking and performance arts. The COAL school project also seeks to build leadership skills in children and teenagers by supporting them in organizing their own literary events that addresses issues young people face in their communities.
On Monday, 20th and Wednesday 22nd January 2020, COAL visited G.S.S. Rot Norong and G.S.S Giring in Jos, Plateau State Nigeria with the pre-program surveys to engage with interested students. This move was necessary to help inform how our programme will be structured to fit the needs of the students, and get books inline with their area of interest.
COAL had the opportunity of introducing herself to the students of the schools at the assembly ground with the support of the school principals and resident English and Literature teachers. COAL’s Executive Director, Andrew Patience, explained the reason for the team’s visit alongside a COAL volunteer, Adekunbi Lardo, they introduced performance poetry to the students with individual performances. This gave the students an idea of what literary activities in the club would look like.
After the session with the general students at the assembly ground, the COAL team visited students in their various classes. The classes visited were Jss1, Jss2, Jss3, SS1 and SS2. At the classroom level, there was further engagement inclusive of some interactives which helped in creating a comfortable atmosphere for interaction, after which the survey forms were explained to the students and they filled and returned them to the team.
The experience was enlightening, exciting and fun. It served as an eye opener to the team as regards the struggles of students trying to learn in very unconducive conditions. Our visit to the two school highlights various areas of focus that must be addressed especially with students in public schools in Nigeria and the need for advocacy on educational equity and human rights assessment of students in public schools.
Hence, COAL is calling on all lovers of change, literature, community service and the community at large to join us in supporting these youth. We solicit your support in form of book donations, monetary support to aid in getting more books for the projects and your time in volunteering. We believe that this is the first of many schools to be visited and we know it will go a long way in changing the community by engaging these children young.
You can make your donations here http://www.coalng.org/donate/
Written by Adekunbi Lardo
(Program Coordinator/Volunteer with COAL)