For many years, the Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust has been a great benefactor of Hope for the Village Child Foundation, donating textbooks for many schools. This has been invaluable assistance for many rural schools who have not had textbooks before. In October 2015 they brought a new initiative. Together in discussion with the organization, commonly known as B-NET, 30 e-readers were introduced in the Rimau Gari Primary School.
The e-reading program is designed to make learning more available by having much information on one device, commonly known as a Kindle. It is becoming increasingly popular in West Africa in schools. HVCF and the school in Rimau were among the first in northern Nigeria to have access to the device. It was launched in an impressive way by the former Ambassador to Great Britain, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida; by the Agom Adara, Maiwada Galadima; and by the Chairman of B-NET, Mr. David Brandler, and witnessed by students, teachers, traditional rulers and many other interested persons.
What type of books are on the E-reader?
It is possible to have either textbooks or library books on the e-readers. We chose library books because the textbooks offered are from the Ghana school curriculum. We felt that having library books might be interesting for children to enjoy reading them.
Why did you choose only one school?
The e-readers are quite expensive, and downloading new books onto them is also expensive. Added to that, only 30 e-readers is already a small number for the population of one school.
Is there a reason you chose the particular school you chose?
Actually, there were more than one reason. One is because there is a large population in that school, and so more would be able to have access. Secondly, they had a secure place to store the e-readers. But perhaps the most important reason of all was that the town has electricity from the national grid so it is possible to keep the units charged.
Is the program successful?
There have been some initial setbacks, such as a transfer of the head teacher shortly after the units were given. After that, teachers were absent for several weeks as they were asked to go through a teacher verification exercise by the state government. Also, it was important to dispel concerns about the units being broken and possible demand for payment, etc. These were all addressed and the units are now being used in the school.
Do you often get gifts such as these?
We have very generous donors, and as noted earlier, B-NET has been very generous to us for many years, assisting us to get textbooks. This is a new initiative, and we will judge its effectiveness as we progress. We are always grateful for assistance given to HVCF in any form.