The Afroliteracies Network: An initiative of the Afroliteracies Foundation
The Afroliteracies Network is working to accelerate literacy for learners in African communities by creating a resource based platform for cross cultural language learning.
African societies are characterized by language diversity. 2000 known languages and counting have been ascribed to the continent; 26 in Uganda, 81 in Ghana, and upwards of 240 in Nigeria. Research shows the need for students to learn in the language most familiar to them before receiving instruction in a second language. For many Africans, English or French is typically their second language. To put this in context, I invite you to consider the case of Ghana. How has using English as the sole official medium of instruction impacted academic achievement in Ghana? Despite government reforms targeting literacy development, approximately 90% of Ghanaian second graders cannot read or write in their first language or English. The lack of educational materials for classrooms and learning in African indigenous languages continues to undermine efforts to revert to bilingual education programs using African first languages in the early primary years. Meanwhile, governments are hesitant to publish in different languages because of the cost/benefit factor.
The Afroliteracies Foundation is social action research initiative that is activating, training and funding a community of researchers, indigenous language speakers, educators, artists, and content creators to produce and disseminate multilingual open educational resources for teachers and students in African indigenous languages and English. AFROLITERACIES is dedicated to showcasing research and innovations in African language education and will serve as a repository for collecting and disseminating teaching and learning materials. So far, we have created and disseminated over 40 lessons in a Ghanaian language, Gã. We have over 500 subscribers and a combined total of over 30,000 views on various YouTube channels. It is not easy to track use and views on platforms such as WhatsApp. Our goal is to intellectualize African languages, revolutionize local curricula with multilingual lessons and increase access to educational content on website and applications by 2020. By 2023, we hope to expand our network to at least two countries in the West African sub region This will improve access to reading and education quality for minority language speakers prior to learning English or French as a second language. All this requires funding and training for our
staff and volunteers. The network will solve a direct need in the educational sector for culturally relevant educational materials in indigenous African languages to support literacy and biliteracy development. Help us decolonize language education for African children. We’re here to stay!