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The importance of Culturally Relevant Content on Education

Culturally relevant teaching, is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning.

Culture is a condition for educational success. Without it, education does not fully meet its objectives. Lack of cultural content reduces the effectiveness of educational action and, on the contrary, a culturally relevant content allows a better use of resources and pedagogical methods.

Children reading

The importance of culture in education lies in the fact that it can become a powerful tool to reach the maximum potential of children.

Heritage is one of the elements of identity construction in early childhood. Country of birth, family customs, social dynamics and practices of the region in which they live form the encyclopedia of knowledge from which children construct their thoughts, character and expectations.

Thus, education, while providing the tools to introduce students to global knowledge, must develop and maintain local knowledge.

Educating globally, but also nationally and locally, is relevant when we speak of the meaning of education and when we affirm that we must guide our education towards cultural development.

Literacy programs have a challenge in providing global content for children in remote areas without losing the essence of their native culture. Likewise, the educational process is more fluid when students have material within their reach that allows them to feel identified.

Boy reading on tablet

At Sun Books we understand the importance of maintaining customs and generating identity from the content that children consume in our digital library. That’s why we work hand in hand with volunteers, teachers, and students to  generate culturally relevant content in both mother tongue ​​and english.

Each of the countries where we are present has its own local content library, so children can find material that allows them to learn how to read and write while strengthening and maintaining their cultural heritage.

Solar panel

Solar energy: a solution for Africa’s chronic power problems

Currently, in Sub-Saharan Africa, just one person in five has access to electricity. Those who do have it, on average pay almost twice as much as in other parts of the world. Energy shortages cost Africa between 2% and 4% of GDP per year.

More than 30 African countries are now experiencing power shortages and regular interruptions in service. Leading to problems for schools to develop consistent activities.

Electricity is an important step toward enhancing people’s opportunities and choices. Solar and wind energy are more promising for large-scale power generation. Furthermore, conditions for solar power are excellent in Africa, where sunlight is plentiful and much more reliable than elsewhere.

As part of Sun Books actions, we installed a solar panel in BOJED Primary School, positively impacting more than 50 pupils, teachers and families.

Sun Books teacher

” I, Mrs. Oluwagbemiga Evelyn, the Head of School of BOJED Primary School, Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria wishes to express my gratitude to you for solving the problem of blackout in our school. Before you installed the solar, we were having challenges with charging the tabs you gave us due to the problem of electricity in our community. This problem has persisted for years and ages in our society and in the country at large. We are so glad that we can now use the tabs everyday and any time without waiting for days until power is installed. Moreover, the pupils are eager to learn and the parents are excited about it. There is now literacy improvement among the students. The solar installation will further help to fast track the learning speed and literacy development of the learners. Power is light and light is joy. With a joyful heart, education is easier. Thank you so much for making learning easy for us”.


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International Literacy Day Celebration 2022

Who declared International Literacy Day and why?

International Literacy Day, sometimes called World Literacy Day, is an international observance and is celebrated every year on 8 September. International Literacy Day was established during the World Conference of Ministers of Education in Iran’s capital Tehran in 1965. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed this day as International Literacy Day in 1966. The intention was to remind people all over the world that the ability to read and write is a human right and a matter of dignity. The first International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967.

How did we celebrate?

Sun Books team organized a virtual event connecting pupils, parents and teachers from Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. We shared a reading session and had the chance to hear from the beneficiaries.

International Literacy Day 2022 - Virtual Event

During the event we were accompanied by more than 500 children who actively participate in the program. We had a reading space for reading aloud from each country. Also, we were able to hear about the experience of some teachers and we understood the positive impact of Sun Books in each classroom.

If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here:  Recording International Literacy Day Virtual Event

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International Literacy Day

Who declared International Literacy Day and why?

International Literacy Day, sometimes called World Literacy Day, is an international observance and is celebrated every year on 8 September. International Literacy Day was established during the World Conference of Ministers of Education in Iran’s capital Tehran in 1965. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed this day as International Literacy Day in 1966. The intention was to remind people all over the world that the ability to read and write is a human right and a matter of dignity. The first International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967.

What is the importance of literacy?

Although literacy skills are seen as a human right, there are still millions of illiterate people or persons with low literacy skills worldwide. Higher literacy rates are associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates. Being literate is a foundational skill essential to acquiring advanced skills. These, in turn, relate to higher wages and more employment across labour markets.

Lacking basic reading and writing skills is an immense disadvantage. Literacy not only enriches an individual’s life, but it generates prospects for people to develop skills that will help them provide for themselves, their families, and their communities.

What is the aim of celebrating International Literacy Day?

The day is celebrated to advance literacy that enables human beings to create a more cultured, literate, and sustainable society. Even in modern society, there is the need to raise awareness about illiteracy, and as such the need for basic education and literacy skills is promoted. International Literacy Day aims to remind local communities – where literacy begins – one person at a time, that literacy is an essential factor in the building of a nation. It helps people to think independently and empowers them. Celebrating International Literacy Day aims to highlight the necessary requirements to help build more literate societies around the world.

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Practical activities in celebration of International Literacy Day include the donation of books to local classrooms, gifting a book to someone, or starting a community lending library. The Reading Day team from the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Literacy Association of South Africa (Litasa), the Gauteng Department of Education, and the World Literacy Foundation did all this and initiated reading days at schools as well. The vision is to help grow a love of reading and to enhance the literacy skills of learners by engaging in fun educational literacy activities. Students from the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology read stories with each class and afterwards did educational activities with the learners based on the stories read. The team donated books to the two schools that were visited. The donated books were sponsored by Book Dash, the National Reading Coalition, and the Faculty of Humanities at UP as part of their literacy drive Reading Matters. The transport to the schools was sponsored by Litasa, the World Literacy Foundation, and Sun Books. The team is excited to report that the two schools decided to dedicate each Friday to reading by hosting a weekly mini-reading day.

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The theme for International Literacy Day this year was Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces. The Reading Day team optimised the opportunity to literally transform literacy learning spaces by donating books for the reading rooms of the two schools. The team also focused on the fact that literacy learning can take place anywhere where a child and words are together. As such, some classes sat outside while listening to the stories read and others sat in smaller groups away from their desks. All activities focused on literacy being fun and making learners aware that reading is not or should not be limited to the classroom and academic tasks.

Focusing on the theme of transforming literacy learning spaces, the slogan Dare to Dream in the reading room of Mmabana Primary School caught my eye.

International Literacy Day Celebration
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I would like to believe that our team, with the support of our sponsors, is supporting the learners of all the schools we visit to dream about the magic to be found between the pages of a book, literacy success, academic progress, and a prosperous life.

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Pic 6

Written by Dr Mia le Roux

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Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Literacy is an essential part of the right to education and the foundation of lifelong learning, as well as a driver of sustainable development. Empowers people, improves livelihoods, enables greater participation in society and the labor market, benefits the health and nutrition of children and families, and reduces poverty.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines a literate person as someone who can read and write a short, simple statement about their life. In recognizing its impact on poverty, health, active citizenship and empowerment, the development community recognizes that “Illiteracy is a condition that denies people opportunity.”

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banner 1200×700 IWD6

The global distribution of literacy is uneven and follows the pattern of rich and developed countries with a higher rate -although the countries that lead the ranking are Ukraine and Uzbekistan, with a rate of 100% in both according to the latest data, from September 2021, while those with lower rates are the so-called developing countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How is Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa?

• More than 1 in 3 adults cannot read.

• 182 million adults are unable to read and write.

• 48 million youth (ages 15-24) are illiterate.

• 22% of primary aged children are not in school.

• That makes 30 million primary aged children who are not in school.

Poor infrastructure and lack of resources exacerbates extreme poverty, making it impossible for children to break the cycle of deprivation and realize their true potential. A community’s literacy rate correlates directly to its level of resilience. Therefore, it is essential to boost literacy in rural communities if we want to have a sustainable impact on addressing poverty and building resilience. Africa needs to increase its reading materials and pedagogical tools to create better lives for its people.

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DSC0756 2

What are we doing to improve Literacy Levels in Sub-Saharan Africa ?

Sun Books is a World Literacy Foundation program specifically designed to support children, families and communities in rural and off-grid locations across Sub-Saharan Africa.
We provide free access to quality education materials and innovative solutions that target wide-scale illiteracy and numeracy. In 2019, we reached more than 350,000 children and young people with our services, across 80 countries in 5 continents.
“Sun Book” is a solar powered tablet with pre-loaded interactive educational content, tailored to cultural and community education needs, in both mother tongue and English.
Literacy resources up to 600 e-books and stories, educational games, learning applications, videos and audio books.
Our main aim is to provide children, classrooms and teachers greater access to quality technology educational resources without the need of electricity or the Internet. Our main project objective is to improve literacy and numeracy and numeracy rates. A secondary objective is to train teachers in child-centered, culturally relevant pedagogy to boost capacity in the longer term for improved literacy and numeracy attainment in these schools and their communities.

How can you help?

You can become part of the change in different ways, all kind of support is welcome. Click here and get to know how to help us.

Volunteer with us:

We are looking for people who have a love for literacy, children and a huge desire to make an impact. We have open positions for content creators, marketing analysts, graphic designers, teachers, researchers and more. Wanna be part of our team? Register here

Make a donation today and change a life forever!

You can choose to make a recurring donation, a single contribution, or a tribute gift to help end illiteracy.

Become an ambassador

We’re looking for ambassadors who, like us, believe that education is freedom and we are passionate about creating a world where every single child has access to high quality learning resources.

Literacy conference july

Literacy Development With Jolly Phonics – Sun Books Literacy Conference

Sun Books is committed with the literacy development in Sub-Saharan Africa. We believe that one of the key factors to improve literacy levels is the constant teacher trainings. That is why we are hosting a monthly literacy conference, in which we are sharing with our stakeholders, different activities and best practices from partners and institutions.

Literacy Conference- Jolly phonics
Jolly phonics – Literacy conference

July’s conference took place last friday 29th. We got over 40 participants attending from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Australia, India, Philippine, UK, USA, New Zealand, Zambia, Ghana, Pakistan, and South Africa.

Our main speaker was Leidy Valbuena, a colombian teacher and researcher from Universidad Distrital FJC, who shared with us her experience working with Jolly Phonics to improve the literacy levels of her students in Bogotá, Colombia.

The conference was based on how to use the Jolly Phonics method to teach Literacy within and outside the classroom. Jolly phonics emphasises the teaching of letter sounds in isolation and how to blend letter sounds to read words and sentences. The method enhances literacy skills, improves reading fluency, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and writing in both native and foreign language learning.

If you missed the conference, click here to access the webinar recording.



©Copyright Sun Books. All right reserved.

An initiative by the World Literacy Foundation

©Copyright Sun Books. All right reserved. An initiative by the World Literacy Foundation

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