Despite the unexpected challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic brought in 2020, it has been a big year for Christianna Foundation. At the start of a new year, it is a good time to reflect on all the influential projects that we’ve managed to implement over the past year and discuss our big plans for the year ahead!

Christianna Foundation had a successful 2020. After extensive research and finding that only 8.8% of primary school children in Ona-Ara had library access, we officially launched the pilot of our Book Box Library Club (BBLC)  into five schools in the region in February. It reached over 700 pupils in its phase 1 pilot and received a lot of praise from both children, teachers and parents. BBLC was designed to service some of the most hard-to-reach primary school children and we managed to achieve that in Ona-Ara.

Returning to schools after a 6-month absence due to Covid, we were very pleased to be able to recover most of our library books in very good condition. Having visited each of our 5 phase 1 schools four times this academic year, with new Covid safety measures in place, BBLC is slowly starting to become part of the school routine. Developing a strong library culture will take time and we are well on our way to achieving this goal. The January 2021 term will see us begin to implement the Community Reading Mentor Scheme with the support of local churches and community leaders. Planning has begun for the next cohort of five schools, for stage 2 of the pilot ahead of an official launch in September 2021. With stage 2 we will reach an additional 700+ pupils in January giving our pilot a total reach of over 1500 children.

Learning and literacy programmes have been developed for trial in phase 2, to ensure that increased access to books from phase 1 translates to an increase in literacy achievement. We are implementing a  ‘Book Review Challenge’, ‘Reading Passport’ and ‘Community Reading Mentor Scheme’ are all designed to work together to motivate and incentivise children and Community Reading Mentors. 

Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, many of our usual fundraising techniques had to be put on hold and we focused our efforts on online fundraising campaigns, such as our #ReasonToReturn campaign, which ran from the end of July to September, raising a total of £4,328. This campaign posted 30 reasons why we should support children’s literacy in Nigeria over 30 days and was led by our digital marketing volunteers who we recruited in May. 

Looking towards the future, we have big plans for 2021 and can’t wait to see what the year will bring. Thank you for all of your support over the past year and we look forward to providing you with regular updates on our progress with the library club and roll out.

Book Box Library Club Needed More Than Ever

We are in the midst of an education crisis in Nigeria, the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Due to Covid-19 children are forced to stay out of schools, with many in Nigeria never expected to return.

Christianna Foundation is giving children a reason to return to school following the pandemic through the launch of its most ambitious library project to date, Book Box Library Club (BBLC). 

After a successful pilot phase, Book Box Library Club is due to roll out in the new academic year. It will support 102 under-resourced primary schools in rural Nigeria, starting in Ona-Ara, Oyo State, reaching 20,000 primary school children. The Book Club will provide relevant, relatable storybooks to children aged 4 to 12 in both English and Yoruba, as well as associated learning activities. With pop-up library days hosted at least every two weeks, children will be able to borrow between 20 and 40 storybooks per year for use at school and at home.

More than 16,000 children have already benefited from projects that the charity has run within schools in South-West Nigeria, these include the building of nine school libraries and the implementation of Worldreader’s eReader programme in three schools. This newest project sees Christianna Foundation continue to support the United Nations Global Goal 4, to provide quality, equitable education for all children.

Rebecca Farmer, UK Director of Christianna Foundation, said: “The pilot phase for Book Box Library Club began in January 2020, before Covid-19 saw all schools shut down. We are more committed than ever to start the new academic year in September by supporting children in under-resourced rural schools with the books and materials they need to succeed in achieving literacy.

Nigeria has been included in a list of 12 countries most at risk of falling even further behind with education targets following the pandemic. Many of these children have had no access to computers and online-teaching, their education has been completely disrupted. Already unfairly disadvantaged by a lack of resources, the education of these vulnerable children will be especially impacted by the Coronavirus. We know that children who left school so suddenly may not come back, especially girls, and we want to give them every incentive to continue their education. We believe that being given access to books and reading materials that they have never had before will be just the kind of incentive they need and give them a chance to bridge the growing attainment gap.

We need corporates and civil society to get involved. The crisis is too large and time critical for the government alone to tackle. We can’t leave this generation of children behind, they need their community to support them, their global community”.

To learn more about corporate sponsorship opportunities contact [email protected], or to sponsor a class or donate a book bundle, please click the donate button on this web page

Flagship Partnership With Worldreader

Christianna Foundation and Worldreader have joined forces to increase youth literacy in Nigeria through a flagship partnership that will provide e-readers in schools.

There are in the region of 35 million children in Nigeria that lack basic literacy skills. With illiteracy recognised as a major predicating factor leading to poverty, learning to read is at the forefront of improving life outcomes such as job prospects and health. This collaboration will see both organisations working together to support the youth of Nigeria to reach their potential.

Worldreader provide free digital libraries available on e-readers and mobile phones. Since 2010, over 8 million people across 48 countries have used these libraries. This comprehensive partnership will ensure the books provided are high quality, relevant and supportive of local authors. Provision for solar power is made where needed as well as training for teachers in how to use and maintain the devices.

With e-reader tablets donated by MoneyGram the partnership between World Reader and Christianna Foundation was launched on the 21st of February at St Peter’s Primary School in Ibadan. Speaking at the event, the Regional Head of MoneyGram Mr.Patrick Appiah said, “the distribution of e-reading devices to schools is aimed at assisting pupils to  cultivate the habit of reading, enabling students to perform creditably in their studies.”

Since the launch the programme has already been extended to three schools, St Peters Ibadan, Kuramo Nursery and Primary Lagos and Maiyegun Community Primary School Lagos. As this partnership continues to grow we look forward to seeing many more Nigerian children benefit from this exciting and important work.

2019 Ona-Ara Research Project Oyo State

In June 2019 researchers from Christianna Foundation headed out into Ona-Ara, Oyo State, to conduct a full needs assessment survey for all 102 Primary Schools in the Local Authority.

Ahead of the charities project planning for the 2020 to 2022 academic years, head teachers from every school where consulted. The full survey recorded all infrastructure, equipment and learning aids available, as well as registering the teacher training needs and any community outreach that the schools engage in.

Christianna Foundation will continue to work in close partnership with the head teachers, the local authority, parents and pupils throughout the planning process to ensure that future project plans are evidence based and reflective of the needs and wants of the schools and the community.

IDC Primary Schools 1-6 Library Opening

On June 18th 2019 the Ona-Ara, Universal Basic Education Authority, commissioned a new library by Christianna Foundation at IDC Primary Schools 1-6, Olunloyo, Oyo State.

Mr Amusat of the LGUBEA formally inaugurated the newly renovated and equipped library with a beautifully refurbished room, 4 bookshelves, 8 new desks, 32 chairs and 196 novels and storybooks. Christianna Foundation will continue to work with IDC Primary schools, who have to date had no library facility, to build their collection. This new library now services all 6 schools with a total of 1178 pupils.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Mr Amusat urged pupils and teachers to avail themselves of the opportunity offered to them by this valuable new resource. Alhaji Gbadamosi, the School Based Management Committee Chairman, commented that the establishment a functional library is welcomed and appreciated by the local government.