The Ghana office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has backed the establishment of the e-Ananse libraries in the country to promote literacy and equip the young generation with IT skills that hopefully will expose them to global opportunities.
E-Ananse libraries are new concept of public libraries where students are given access to a wide collection of books from various African cultures as well as an environment that exposes them to more knowledge.
Speaking at the launch of a second library at the University of Ghana, the Head of the UNESCO office in Ghana, Mr M. Abdourahamane Diallo, said the e-Ananse library had come to complement the efforts of the government and that of other stakeholders in improving literacy, considering that access to books remained a major obstacle to literacy.
“A survey of 16 sub-saharan African countries revealed that majority of primary schools have few or no books. Lack of books continue to represent a significant obstacle to literacy,” he said.
Mr Diallo said increased literacy had the potential to increase the country’s GDP by as much as 30 per cent.
He, therefore, called for a collaboration between UNESCO and e-Ananse to improve literacy, adding that “UNESCO and e-Ananse can explore ways of collaborating to add value to already existing activities, or break new ground in exploring areas that can contribute to Ghana’s priorities across UNESCO’s areas of communications, science and culture.”
West blue determined
The e-Ananse libraries are concept developed by West Blue Consulting, an Information Technology (IT) company.
In a speech read on her behalf, the founder of WestBlue Consulting, Ms Valentina Mintah, said : “The e-Ananse Libraries is a gathering of many organisations from Ghana and around the world, whose values and missions are aligned with our own of preserving local culture while embracing the best of what the world has to offer in terms of knowledge and skills.”
She said the company was determined to establish more of the e-Ananse Libraries as part of its commitment to help boost the culture of reading in the country.
“At West Blue, we pride ourselves on our commitment to being a pace-setting, innovating and world-class organisation; and it’s this same mindset that we bring to the e-Ananse Libraries as part of our corporate social responsibility,” Ms Mintah said.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, commended WestBlue for the initiative and stressed the importance of literacy to the growth of the Ghanaian economy.
He, however, urged the company to consider siting future libraries in deprived communities across the country.
The Minister of Gender and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, stressed the need for libraries to be set up in prisons to expose inmates to more learning opportunities.
For his part, the Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr George Andah, said as part of the ministry’s ongoing initiative on coding, the iHub, which forms part of the e-Ananse library set-up, would help train young ones in ICT and classification.