In line with its commitment to improving literacy and developing human capital in Nigeria, Lafarge Africa Plc, the Nigerian operations of the world’s leading building materials company, LafargeHolcim, has launched a National Essay Competition for pupils in public primary and secondary schools in the country. This further affirms the company’s commitment to bridging the literacy gap in Nigeria.
The online essay competition themed “Building the Nigeria of my dreams”, will help improve literacy amongst young adults and also engender loyalty to the nation as they will write about their hopes and aspirations of the Nigerian nation they desire. The online essay competition aligns with reports that show that citizens do much better when they are literate as they become equipped to become better adults and even more successful in their careers.
The Country Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Khaled El-Dokani, noted that the essay competition is a testament to the company’s commitment to contributing to the development of the Nigerian child through literacy. “We recognize that the depth and quality of a country’s human capital are as important as its physical infrastructure, hence, our investment over the last 7 years in enhancing the Nigerian educational sector just as we are committed to empowering Nigerians through our world class building solutions.’
“One of our key sustainability priorities at Lafarge Africa is our commitment to our communities through education and we are actively collaborating with the government and the private sector to improve the country’s literacy ratio towards making an impact in reducing the World Bank estimate which states that over 80 percent of Nigerian primary school-leavers cannot read,” said Khaled.
The Communications, Public Affairs, and Sustainable Development Director, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, remarked: ‘Our sustainability pillars – Climate and Energy, Circular Economy, Environment and Community is the lever for which LAP is driving innovative solutions. As a business committed to local content and growth, we are strengthening impact assessment across different spheres. Our intervention in education sits within the Community pillar.’
She continued: ‘We have so far impacted more than 700,000 primary school pupils in 1,665 schools across 544 local government areas (LGAs). Our volunteers, who are employees of Lafarge Africa Plc have spent over 6,212 hours with over 250 public primary students. This crucial involvement shows our genuine concerns about Nigeria’s literacy gap and commitment towards bridging that gap.’
‘Our sincere appreciation goes the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs), the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and the Federal Ministry of Education for the amazing partnership.’ She said.
She further noted that Lafarge Africa Plc has built an online platform through which participants drawn from public schools can register and send in their submissions.
The contest would be held virtually in strict adherence to safety guidelines and protocols following the COVID-19 Pandemic. The contest would be in two categories: the Junior category, for pupils aged 7-10 years in public primary schools and the Intermediate category is for pupils aged 11-14 in public junior secondary schools. Lafarge’s online portal will open for entries on the 4th of December 2020 and close by the 31st of December, 2020. Winners will be announced on the 17th of February 2020.
The Lafarge Africa’s educational intervention has been recognized by national and international organisations for its consistency and far-reaching impacts. The national essay competition is supported by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs), the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and the Federal Ministry of Education.
The Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition is aligned with 5 SDGs.SDG 1 -No poverty, SDG 4 – Quality Education, SDG 5 – Gender Equality, SDG 11 – Reduced inequalities and SDG 17 – Partnership for the goals.