“For a country like Nigeria, there is an urgent need to work towards securing a sustainable future. We believe that a sustainable future will enable growth, global peace and security and technological advancement. We need to prepare our children for a future where they will compete globally with ease. That future begins with improving the literacy levels of every child in Nigeria today.”
This was the summation of the chairman, Lafarge Africa plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun, at the 6th Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition (LANLC), themed “Bridging the literacy gap together.”
The competition, where pupils from Rivers State emerged overall champion, is a yearly national initiative designed to positively impact children and teachers across the country. After a keen contest, Master David Emmanuella and Miss Barikpoa Prosper, from Community Primary School, Rivers State, won the first prize; while Ogun and Enugu States were second and third respectively.
Balogun, in his remarks, noted that literacy is crucial to the development of any society, hence being described by UNESCO as a driver for sustainable development.“It enables greater participation in the labour market; improved child and family health and nutrition; reduces poverty and expands life opportunities. As an organisation, we would continue to invest in educational interventions including scholarships and bursary awards for children within our host communities, training programmes, among others,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Michel Puchercos, commended all the students that participated at every stage of the competition.“It is rewarding to watch these brilliant children grow and improve every year. We dream of a bright future for every Nigerian child through basic education, six years on, the visible outcomes we have seen encourage us to do more.
The competition is delivered across all 109 senatorial districts and 36 states of the federation and the FCT and is organized with the support of the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in all the states of the country, with our implementing partners – Ovie Brume Foundation and TEP centre,” he said.
Communications, public affairs and sustainable development director, Lafarge Africa, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, on her part, said the objective of the competition was to create more literacy enhancement opportunities for indigent students across Nigeria.The overall winners from Rivers State, who also got scholarships to complete their secondary school education, thanked the company and expressed delight at the opportunity to participate.