From August 12th to 16th, I attended the Pan African Reading for All Conference at Nairobi University in Kenya. Teachers, writers, librarians, educators, researchers, publishers and local and international development workers were invited to this conference to discuss literacy in Africa.
The conference theme was: Literacy for All : Leading the way to Literacy excellence. People gathered to share and document research findings, as well as best experiences and practices regarding literacy. This helped us, after discussions, to have a more coordinated and steam-lined approach to literacy in Africa.
The conference was a very important period for me to meet people from different African countries and let them know about the Books and Beyond Project. Many people gave me their contacts and were willing to have a copy of our books! It was easy for me to network with others because I speak Kiswahili as well as English and French.
The title of my presentation was “The Books and Beyond Project: A Storytelling Exchange between School Children in Rwanda and the United States” . I had been preparing all the week long, studying everything I know on Books and Beyond Project so as to provide the most verifiable information to the audience! After the 30 mins of Power point presentation, I turned on the Video on the holidays camp and showed to the audience the sample of our World is Our Home Anthology. People asked questions on how the project started as well as the impact of the project to the Kinigi community.
They told me that our project is so unique, and said it is a wonderful example of how devoted people can help the students become authors from such a young age. They explained that Books & Beyond has already met the International Reading Association main objectives and if extended into other African countries, it could have a major impact on continent literacy.
I felt very happy being able to share my experience with people from intellectual circles of different countries. The conference inspired me and made me think about my future participation in different social sciences research activities. I gained information on how I can get my different research findings published and I also earned a membership in the International Reading Association.
This Conference was also very beneficial for Books & Beyond. People from different countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, etc. had the occasion to know our organization and were very interested in our realizations.