Tackling illiteracy in Vubwi

THE American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia has forged a strategic alliance with Trace International to help develop and support trade and investment between the US and Zambia.

Trace develops cost-effective anti-bribery compliance and due diligence solutions for multinational companies and their commercial intermediaries.
According to a joint statement by the two parties obtained in Zambia the forged strategic alliance will also promote a due diligence standard in Zambia and help companies maintain anti-bribery controls.
It will promote transparency in international business and to achieve a common standard for anti-bribery compliance and third party due diligence.
The chamber in Zambia is the second international chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce to collaborate with Trace on the worldwide compliance initiative.
“Together, Trace and AmCham Zambia will help develop and support trade and investment between the United States, the business community and Zambia.
“As part of the agreement, AmCham Zambia members will be required to complete Trace certification, a comprehensive due diligence review, analysis and approval process, which includes a mandatory online training course and annual review of due diligence compliance,” partly reads the statement.
The two organisations aim to help companies operating in Zambia streamline their certified anti-bribery controls, obtain an internationally recognised compliance credential, and maintain their own verified anti-bribery due diligence information.
Trace International President Alexandra Wrage said: “Today’s announcement is another example of how Trace works with global partners to achieve an internationally-recognised, common standard for anti-bribery compliance and third party due diligence.
This latest alliance is an important breakthrough in this worldwide initiative.”
Chamber president David Vosburg said the alliance supports the mission by setting the highest due diligence standard for its members by providing them with an internationally recognised compliance credential.
General Electric Africa General Counsel Bruce Campbell said: “This initiative will be good for Zambian companies, and for the international investors who want to come and do business in Zambia.”

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12:19 PM (1 hours ago)

Tackling illiteracy in Vubwi

on Times of Zambia

By Daliya Manda –

Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for life-long learning. It is essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world.

The uses of literacy for the exchange of knowledge are constantly evolving, along with advances in technology. From the Internet to text messaging, the ever-wider availability of communication makes for greater social and political participation. A literate community is a dynamic community, one that exchanges ideas and engages in debate.

Illiteracy, however, is an obstacle to a better quality of life, and can even breed exclusion and violence.

For over 65 years UNESCO has worked to ensure that literacy remains a priority on national and international agendas.

Through its formal and non-formal literacy programmes worldwide, the Organisation works to realise the vision of a literate world for all.

To be in conformity with UNESCO vision, people in newly created Vubwi District in Eastern Province were cheered to commemorate the International Literacy Day, the first ever after Vubwi was declared a district by the Patriotic Front (PF) government this year.

The day which was characterised by dance, drama, writing and reading competitions from both the elderly and the young, brought smiles on the faces of the residents of Vubwi who expressed gratitude to Government, cooperating partners and traditional leaders who are making strides to improve literacy levels in the district.

Women were not left out in the celebration as they were given a platform to showcase their skills by writing, reading and making words from syllables, a skill acquired in two months from the time they started taking literacy lessons in July this year.

A 55-year-old woman, Dorothy Banda, of Kamuyenga village, the oldest in a class of 30 who was given a task to read, commended Government for introducing literacy classes in Vubwi saying she was not able to attend classes when she was young because of the distance to Vubwi Primary school, built in 1945 in the district.

Ms Banda said being part of Phindulani Literacy Club for two months has enabled her and others to be able to read and write and yet have only attended classes for a short period.

Another student Florence Banda, 44, stated that the youngest in their class was a 30 year old; Teresa Tembo of Chitimbe village adding that attending class has enlightened them.

“Us as women, in a year’s time will be able to sign papers on our own at the bank and also freely attend developmental meetings because once educated, we will fully participate in the development of our area,” said Ms Banda.

Gracing the event at Vubwi Basic School, District Commissioner Velenasi Moyo expressed happiness over the participation of stakeholders in the commemoration saying the occasion was part ofawareness of encouraging the community in Vubwi to embrace a reading culture and writing skills.

Ms Moyo stated that Vubwi has not been spared from the regional comparisons that suggest that the quality of education in Zambia isone of the worst in Southern Africa and the country is ranked 13 out of 15 countries.

She requested the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) office to quickly work on modalities to improve the current literacy levels in the newly created district and set targets.

“Although the picture is gloom, I am optimistic that change will come with time if the country and Vubwi district in particular embrace a positive mindset,” she added.

Ms Moyo also said that parents can also play a pivotal role in helping the children acquire a reading culture and writing skills at home rather than waiting for government to take a step.

She stated that Government is also taking steps to address the literacy challenges by introducing early childhood education as it is aware that children who start nursery school with an awareness of letters and basic language sound become better readers and face fewer challenges in life.

The DC applauded the involvement and participation of partners such as Room to Read, a non Governmental Organisation which has equipped school libraries in 18 out of the 20 Schools in the district of which one is a constructed library.

Ms Moyo called on parents and pupils to maximize the use of the infrastructure and libraries which have potential not only to improve vocabulary and raising literacy levels but also bring development to the area.

And Room to Read, Eastern Province programmess manager, Maximus Chongo stated that his organisation believe that World change started with educated children.

Mr Chongo stated that in order to take care of present and future literacy concerns, his organisation has focused on children as a window of hope by contributing to the development of their communities, societies and the country at large through equipping school libraries with reading materials.

He said since inception in 2007, the initial focus has been on improving infrastructure and access to education and reading materials through the school Library Programme which has established over 400 school libraries in Primary and community schools in Lusaka, Southern and Eastern Provinces.

“There is need for other partners to plough back to the community by donating books or other library materials such as furniture for the pupils and elderly persons to read in a condusive environment,” he said.

And Chief Pembamoyo’s representative, Faston Phiri praised the PF Government for spearheading education in the area which he said is the engine of development.

Mr Phiri, who is Induna Malaya, said that because of government’s commitment to improving lives of people in rural areas, it has embarked on women literacy classes whose intentions are already showing as they were now able to read and write.

The chief’s representative stated that men should also not shun the literacy classes but join so that they are not left out in programmes lined up to improve reading and writing abilities among members of the community in the district including children.

Mr Phiri however, warned men who are in the habit of enticing girls into engaging in immoral activities that they will face the wrath of the law once caught.

In June this year, the Department of Community Development in Eastern Province, embarked on a programme to train volunteer literacy instructors from the newly created Vubwi District.

Regional Community Development Officer Banabas Musonda stated that the move was meant to enable those that were not able to read and write, acquire the skill to participate in the government developmental agenda especially in rural parts of the country.

Mr Musonda noted that the department would ensure that the programme succeeded to empower the vulnerable with reading and writing skills because only then would they be able to fully participate in poverty alleviation and also accelerate development in their areas.

He stressed the need for participates to utilise the knowledge fully adding that departments would also fully support them by providing teaching aid because with concerted efforts Vubwi District would develop at same pace with other district in the province.

And Bridget Nambeye of Vubwi centre stated that women and men instructors will put in the best so that government intention to empower them with teaching skills and that the program does not go in vein.

Ms Nambeye said the area needed vigorous effort to improve people’s writing and reading skills because they lagged behind for a long time.

Ms Nambeye whose Phindulani literacy Club participated in showcasing the writing and reading skill at the commemoration of International Literacy Day held at Vubwi Primary School grounds was happy that the training did not go in vein but has yielded fruits which the community was able to point out.

“We are privileged to showcase at this year’s literacy day out of the 18 existing women’s clubs in the area, Musengeledzi Primary School is where we meet surrounded by Kamunyenga, Tenje, Mofat, Bongela and Chitimbe villages all under chief Pembaomoyo the only chiefdom in Vubwi district,” she said.

And District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Mumba Nkoloma called on head teachers and teachers to double efforts in teaching learners reading and writing skills effectively.

Mr Nkoloma stated that illiteracy levels in the district were very high hence the need for concerted efforts to equip the learners with literacy skills because teaching people the skills especially children will not only lay a strong foundation for their future tertiary Education but also enable them access to information.

He said the office is committed to ensuring that literacy levels in our district are improved.

It is hoped that with this programme, more people will be empowered with education and subsequently get economic empowerment.