Vivo Energy Ghana, the exclusive distributors and marketers of Shell-branded fuels and lubricants in Ghana has launched the ‘Vivo Energy Community Digital Literacy Project’ to increase access to relevant educational content through technology among schoolchildren.
The pilot project is in partnership with Worldreader and the Northern Regional Library Authority and seeks to reinforce schoolchildren’s reading skills and help to mitigate the learning loss caused by the schools’ closure during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.
Mrs Shirley Tony Kum, the Corporate Communications Manager at Vivo Energy Ghana, speaking at the launch, said the project would promote Sustainable Development Goal 4, of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education within the implementing area.
She said the project, in its first phase, would reach children in over 25 households within the Tamale Metropolis with ‘BookSmart Tablets’, trained home facilitators, and guided lesson plans to create an enabling environment for reading and learning for them. Facilitators will also take the opportunity to help sensitize households on the COVID-19 protocols and the risks associated with non-compliance.
“To ensure effective implementation of the project, household facilitators have been trained and will have access to remote support through structured daily lesson plans and book title recommendations for specific targeted outcomes”, she added. Mrs Kum indicated that Vivo Energy was committed to implementing educational initiatives that would have a significant impact on the lives of schoolchildren, especially those in marginalised communities.
“As a company committed to fuelling the growth Ghana, we have, and continue to implement various initiatives across the country to improve literacy rates and prepare a more secure workforce for the country's development. Some of these initiatives include the launch of V-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to make STEM education more attractive and increase awareness about career opportunities in science and technology, especially among female students,” she said.
Other initiatives include the training of some Senior High School students in Full-Stack Web Development as a foundation for an Advanced Technical Course at Soronko Academy, Ghana's leading technology and digital skills development centre; the launch of a one-year intensive Graduate Talent Programme at Vivo Energy Ghana for students from various universities with STEM backgrounds; and the handing over of a renovated and furnished five-unit classroom block to the Brengo Presbyterian School in Asanti Mampong.
During the lock-down, Vivo Energy Ghana funded the rollout of an alternative e-learning platform accessible to all senior high school students in partnership with ABCDE Africa and eCampus. The company, also donated 10 brand new HP laptop computers to the Otumfuo Charity Foundation to support this year's Otumfuo Teachers Awards scheme to build the capacity of teachers, especially those in the rural areas with limited access to resources.
Mr David Sumbo, a Lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS), who was the Guest Speaker at the event, called for collaboration among stakeholders in the educational sector to ensure appropriate content was available on digital platforms for all categories of readers.
“Technology is a double-edged sword which can be used for good or bad, that is why it is very important to take a critical look at what is available for people to read and help create the right environment for people to read”, he noted.
Mr Alhassan Abdul-Kahad, Programme Manager at Worldreader, said the Vivo Energy Community Digital Literacy Project would help to improve the literacy rate among the youth and help prepare a more secured workforce that would help to accelerate the country’s development.