Liberia: Today Is World Literacy Day


In 1966The UN declared September 8 World Literacy day to focus attention primarily on the millions of adults (people over 16) all over the world who cannot read and write.  Liberia was signer of that declaration.  Yet more than 50 years later we are faced with the stark realization that possibly 60% of our voting age citizens cannot read and write and Liberia is now the least developed country in the world. 

By Rose Mends-Cole Sherman, Contributing Writer

There is a direct correlation between literacy and development.  If development is the vehicle that will take us to a better quality of life, literacy is the driver of that vehicle. To begin with literacy reduces poverty.  Literacy improves health.  Literacy expands life opportunities for everyone.  Peace, justice and democracy cannot thrive in ignorance and illiteracy.  The simple fact is that development cannot be attained or sustained by ignorance and illiteracy.

The good news is that we can do something to solve this problem.  We don’t even have to beg for help to solve it.  We can solve it by ourselves, for ourselves.  The big problem is that we will have to work for it.  But if enough of us do just a little bit, Liberia can become a literate country in a few years.  The four magic words are EACH ONE TEACH ONE.  Each literate Liberian teach one illiterate Liberian how to read and write.  That person could be your wife, or your grandfather, your watchman or your neighbor.  All you need to start is a copy book, a pencil, an ABC book, and a place to sit.  Start by teaching someone to write his or her name. That is just one way.  But you can promote literacy all kinds of way.

The idea of EACH ONE TEACH ONE has been in existence for a long time. Take ownership of it.  Do it your way. Use your platform. There is no one way.  You can do it small.  You can do it big.  You can teach one person or you can teach a whole village; you can get your church, mosque or school to start an evening literacy class three times a week; you can make literacy a part of whatever project or business you are engaged in; high school and college students can volunteer to teach and do community awareness; Businesses and individuals can provide funds for transportation for volunteers; the list goes on and on.  Just stop making excuses and do something.  Take ownership of the idea.  Let us make this a Movement – A Literate Liberia Movement.

We have an EACH ONE TEACH ONE booklet that will teach literacy in one year.  It cost only $80 LD to mass produce.  You can put that booklet in the hands of 500 students and volunteer literacy teachers for US$200.00 if that is how you want to do your part.  You can put that booklet in the hands of a whole town or even county.  That booklet teaches many other useful things along with literacy.  There is no copy right, so you can make your own copies. 

People who say they are catering to the poor; people who say they are for developing the country; people who are on the air every day talking politics trying to replace those in power or to stay in power; please use that platform to promote literacy.  Also follow up the talk with some action.

Pastors and Imams please use your pulpits to promote literacy and your churches and mosques to teach literacy classes.

From the highest levels of government, ministers, legislators, we appeal to you.  Some of you have made empty promises and some of you have not allowed us audience or taken our calls, we still appeal to you to take ownership of EACH ONE TEACH ONE and use your platform to make Liberia a literate country.  You have influence and loud voices add a little work to it and we can have a literate country in a few years. It is even good PR for you.

Publicity is very important.  The media and technology are key players in getting the whole country involved.  The more people know about EACH ONE TEACH ONE, read about it and hear about it, the more momentum the Movement for a Literate Liberia will have. You have a big platform and you can do so much.

Maybe your platform is small.  Is everyone in your house able to read and write? What about your neighborhood, your church, your club, or your village?  Do what YOU are able to do.  Do it for our country.  Do it for our children.

EACH ONE TEACH ONE is an activity of Liberia Community Network, Inc. a registered national NGO.  EACH ONE TEACH ONE has no funding source, everyone volunteers.  Contact:  Rose Mends-Cole Sherman 0775-382-447 / 0880-708-447 email:  [email protected]