Andika Rwanda 2018

As part of their work to impart a lifelong affinity for stories and poetry in Rwanda’s youngest readers, early grade reading advocates from USAID Soma Umenye and the Rwandan Education Board (REB) have been meeting with leading officials across Rwanda to discuss strategies that will increase participation in a fourth national student writing competition. In total, there have been five meetings in each of Rwanda’s provinces, gathering provincial, district and sector education officials who aspire to improve Kinyarwanda reading skills among Rwanda’s first, second and third grade students.

Since September last year, REB and Soma Umenye officials have been meeting with provincial governors, vice mayors in charge of social affairs, district directors of education, district education officers for primary education, sector education officers and REB regional inspectors, all in an effort to promote involvement and ideas to make the contest even more accessible and inviting to school communities.

Emmanuel Ibangaryayo, district director of education in the Rulindo District, says the opportunity to promote young authors creating stories that resonate with Rwandan children warrants full local support. “Promoting Kinyarwanda is a priority in education and we now have a strong reason to work hard to make Andika Rwanda successful,” he said. “Promoting Kinyarwanda as a mother tongue language requires books written in the Rwandan context. We have books, but we don’t have original stories drawn from Rwandan creativity. Most of the books we have are foreign tales translated from foreign languages.”

USAID Soma Umenye Chief of Party Stephen Blunden says that Andika Rwanda provincial and district level organizers are throwing out good natured challenges to neighboring localities, each predicting that their jurisdictions will produce the most winning submissions to the contest jury this year. “This level of ownership and commitment to Andika Rwanda is rewarding to see,” he said. “We deeply appreciate the thoughtful way government and education officials are coordinating support for teachers and students to make the contest successful at the local level.”

Submission guidelines were distributed to schools when classes reopened later in January . Winning entries will be announced in May.