Membership & Structure
The membership will consist of public and private institutions, organizations, and individuals that are interested in helping Rwanda develop a culture of reading. Soma Rwanda is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education and co-chaired by Education Office Director, USAID, supported by a Secretariat appointed by the co-chairs. Other members of the Steering Committee includes 20 advisors selected from key institutions/organizations. There is a Technical Committee which provides backstopping support to the Steering Committee and a General Assembly which includes all interested stakeholder groups, both public and private.
SOMA RWANDA STEERING COMMITTEE
A Steering Committee coordinates the efforts of Soma Rwanda. The Soma Rwanda Steering Committee reports directly to the Education Sector Working Group (ESWG) through the co-chairs. Currently co-chaired by MINEDUC and USAID, the Steering Committee is the ultimate decision-making body for the Soma Rwanda platform.
The Steering Committee’s key roles and responsibilities are outlined below:
- Reviewing and validating Soma Rwanda initiatives proposed by the Technical Committee;
- Institutionalizing reading and literacy in government structures and systems, such as the initiation of literacy volunteers;
- Approving the September National Literacy Month Concept Note and providing strategic direction in the promotion of literacy events taking place throughout the country;
- Participating in literacy campaigns and other advocacy activities for Soma Rwanda and other stakeholders to secure political and social commitment to fostering a culture of reading;
- Supporting the establishment of sub-committees to lead on specific initiatives endorsed by the Steering Committee;
- Advise on the quality of web content;
- The co-chairs shall have the power to invite other relevant participants to attend Steering Committee meetings depending on the agenda.
The agenda for the quarterly Steering Committee meetings will be set by the co-chairs, and be focused on actions necessary to coordinate initiatives across ministries and further policy-level advocacy related to reading promotion. The agenda and invitations will be circulated by the co-chairs through email and members will have an opportunity to add items as appropriate. Items to be discussed at the meeting must be included on the agenda, but under exceptional circumstances an item not on the agenda may be addressed at the meeting provided all members present or represented agree to this addition. Each Steering Committee meeting will conclude with a set of resolutions for follow up.
Roles of the Co-Chairs
- Providing strategic direction to the conduct of all Steering Committee meetings;
- Communicating all relevant information concerning Soma Rwanda, including strategic documents, reports, meeting agenda and schedules; including sending communications/invitations on behalf of the Steering Committee;
- Receiving and reviewing literacy-related documents and reports pertaining to the mandate of the Steering Committee (this includes policy papers, new literacy initiatives or programs etc);
- Chairing Steering Committee meetings.
SOMA RWANDA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
The Soma Rwanda Technical Committee will be established to support the Steering Committee as the decision-making body and inform key discussions on literacy promotion and fostering a culture of reading. The Technical Committee will be chaired by the Secretariat. The Technical Committee will meet once per quarter; however, additional meetings may be called to act on key priorities.
The key roles and responsibilities of the Technical Committee include:
- Propose topics for the quarterly Steering Committee meetings and develop agendas for annual General Assembly meetings and share them with the co-chairs;
- Lead on the planning and coordination of literacy campaigns and other advocacy activities for Soma Rwanda throughout the year including:
- Drafting the September National Literacy Month Concept Note and presenting it to the Steering Committee for approval;
- Organizing activities showcasing literacy initiatives and mobilizing Soma Rwanda members to host events throughout the month of September and where possible, throughout the year;
- Providing guidance to Soma Rwanda members on the organization of literacy-related events throughout the year.
- Collecting and reviewing initiatives, activities, articles, and research in the area of literacy to be shared with both the Steering Committee and the General Assembly and/or posted on the webpage;
- Facilitating networks among stakeholders to maximize efforts and foster an atmosphere of mutual learning;
- Advocating for institutionalization of reading and literacy in government structures and systems, such as the initiation of literacy volunteers;
- Identifying key advocacy opportunities to promote the culture of reading in Rwanda;
- Promoting membership expansion to increase participation across all provinces in Rwanda;
- Conducting outreach to constituents;
- Active participation in the Soma Rwanda events including learning events and National Literacy Month.
SOMA RWANDA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The main role of the General Assembly will be to:
- Active participation in Soma Rwanda events including learning events and National Literacy Month;
- Share plans, new initiatives, and identify areas of collaboration;
- Share achievements, experiences, and lessons learned;
- Share institutional constraints in promoting a reading culture and discuss ways of addressing these;
- Share items for the webpage.
The agenda for the annual General Assembly meetings will be approved by the co-chairs. The agenda and invitation will be circulated by the Secretariat through email in advance so that individual members of the General Assembly meeting have the opportunity to add items as appropriate. The General Assembly will discuss only items on the agenda. Membership is open to any organization, institution, business or individual who is interested in supporting the promotion of reading in Rwanda.
SOMA RWANDA WORKING GROUPS
Soma Rwanda has four working groups organized by thematic areas in literacy promotion and fostering a culture of reading. The working groups include the following:
- Book Sector Working Group
- Civil Society Working Group
- Community Libraries Working Group
- Formal Education Working Group.
Each working group will be chaired by a Soma Rwanda member. Working Group chairs will be elected at General Assembly meetings and serve a two-year term.
Frequency of Meetings:
Steering Committee meetings will be held once per quarter. However, extraordinary meetings may be called at any time to address urgent matters related to this initiative. Additionally, sub-committees may be formed from amongst steering committee members and meet more frequently, reporting on activities at the Steering Committee meetings. Steering Committee meetings will be action-oriented and focus on high-level oversight and coordination. Technical Committee meetings will be held once a quarter while the General Assembly meeting will be held once a year.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF SOMA RWANDA SECRETARIAT
The co-chairs will appoint a Secretariat that will provide coordination, monitoring and administrative support for Soma Rwanda. Key roles and responsibilities of the Secretariat include:
- Preparing quarterly reports for the co-chairs to present at Basic Education Sector Group (BESG)/ESWG meetings;
- Drafting invitations to Steering Committee, Technical Committee and General Assembly meetings and forwarding to the co-chairs for approval:
- Invitations will be disseminated by the co-chairs for Steering Committee meetings and the Secretariat for the Technical Committee and General Assembly meetings.
- Taking notes at Steering Committee, Technical Committee and General Assembly meetings and forwarding minutes to the co-chairs for approval and broader dissemination;
- Tracking follow up actions from resolutions agreed at Steering Committee meetings, as necessary to inform future agendas;
- Reviewing relevant reports and documents pertaining to issues discussed or for discussion in subsequent meetings;
- Ensuring availability of resource materials to Soma Rwanda, as well as supporting the Platform in the coordination of events, particularly through regular updating of the Soma Rwanda website;
- Leading on the drafting of communication content for literacy promotion campaigns;
- Managing, on a day-to-day basis, the content and layout of the Soma Rwanda website, ensuring that the availability of resource materials, news items and information about events are regularly disseminated to stakeholders;
- Monitoring and supporting the effective functioning of any sub-committees which have been mandated by the Steering Committee to support specific literacy promoting initiatives;
- Maintaining a calendar of events, including meetings, and updating members on progress achieved within the Platform;
- Managing any logistics that may be required for the effective functioning of Soma Rwanda, as requested by the Steering Committee;
Be active in Soma Rwanda, including with the following critical responsibilities:
- Coordinating with other Soma Rwanda members in organizing content for quarterly learning events, ensuring cross representation and contributions;
- Collaborating with partners and Soma Rwanda members to ensure consistency of messaging and value addition across the literacy campaign;
- Leading on the planning and coordinating of literacy campaigns and other advocacy activities for Soma Rwanda and other stakeholders to secure political and social commitment.
- Monitor, document and report on members’ literacy activities in the month of September and throughout the year;
- Promoting membership expansion to increase participation across all provinces in Rwanda;
- Organizing literacy-related learning events on a quarterly basis;
- Hosting stakeholder events, such as the book purchasing consortium and Children’s Book Forums;
- Draft relevant information concerning Soma Rwanda, including strategic documents, reports, etc. to inform discussions during meetings of both the Steering Committee and Technical Committee;
- Facilitate networks among stakeholders to maximize efforts and foster an atmosphere of mutual learning;
- Propose topics for discussion by the Steering and Technical Committees;
- Approving content to be posted on the webpage.