A campaign targeted at reviving and improving the reading culture in Nigeria, the 100 Book Challenge Nigeria has been launched in Abuja.
The campaign, a private initiative is aimed at encouraging Nigerian children to read 100 books over the course of a year and to keep a log of their accomplishments, while schools are also required to read 100 books over the course of a year.
Speaking in an interview at the launch held at the FCT Archives and History Bureau Complex yesterday, coordinator of the challenge, Dr. Fatima Akilu, said the concept was conceived upon the realisation that children were competing with many things especially with the advent of technology, which kept them away from their books.
She lamented that unlike in the past; books were no longer available to children to read in their schools.
“The initiative is to get people to partner at different levels so that we can get books and also get the kids interested in reading because if kids are interested in reading, they will remind their parents and teachers to provide books for them,” she added.
Akilu explained that as a motivation, the organisers of the reading campaign together with its partners would award prizes to children and schools who meet up the challenge.
“Challenges come with prizes at the end and we are hoping that with our corporate partners in the course of the year, we will be able to give them a prize. In the first year we are not expecting that we are going to get a lot of children to read a hundred books but we are hoping that as we go along, it will catch on and we will have a lot more schools and parents that want their children to read sign on and read in three to four years,” she said.
The coordinator expressed the hope that other foundations interested in promoting reading would buy into the initiative and come on board so that the initiative would be replicated in other states of the federation and also urged indigenous authors to support the initiative by donating books to schools and also holding reading sessions in schools.
In his remarks at the event, the secretary FCT Education Secretariat, Malam Kabiru Usman lamented that the loss of interest in reading among adults and children had led to low literacy level in the society.
He said it was in view of this that the administration was supporting the initiative in addition to other efforts of the administration including building of children library in Gudu, Wuse Zone 4 and several others under construction as well as organizing a summer holiday reading programme for the past two years.