Three and five year olds of Kikori stand to benefit from a literacy library that will prepare them for entry into the formal education system following the signing of an agreement between Oil Search Foundation (OSF) and the United Church in Port Moresby yesterday (September 25, 2017), Oil Search Foundation reports.
A statement received from OSF yesterday states that the Kikori Literacy Library, which will be set up in the United Church grounds in Kikori, comes on the back of a similar, hugely successful literacy library in Tari, Hela Province. Also, a third library is being rolled out for Habare in Tari, after signing a contract with the Seventh Day Adventist Church last week.
OSF confirms to fund the library whilst the United Church will administer the library, and Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP), with whom OSF already has a partnership agreement, will provide technical, training and other support. OSF Executive Director Stephanie Copus-Campbell signed the agreement with Mr. Kali Sete- Development Secretary, United Church of Papua New Guinea; on behalf of Bishop Wari Eho’o of the United Church, Papuan Gulf Region. The signing paves the way for construction work to get underway in Kikori.
Jean Martin, Head of Expansions Program at OSF, said the Foundation was keen to roll out the literacy library not only because of the success shown in the Tari library, but importantly, because of the impact the library would have on the children’s early learning process and development.
“We know the immense benefits early literacy has on the development of a child, but for these children of Kikori, the benefits would be even more so because of the inherent difficulty to access books and other literacy materials in such remote locations,” Ms Martin said. “The Foundation will continue to build and enhance relationships with partners like the Department of Education and the Department for Community Development and Religion as well as BbP, the United Church and others to help the development of these children through literacy.”
Mr. Sete said the United Church was delighted to help promote literacy among the children of Kikori. “Human development is a crucial part of the work the Church does. The ability to read and write at an early age is the first important step in this development process, so the Church is very happy to play a part in setting up the literacy library,” he said. He also highlighted the need to consider adult literacy as well.
According to OSF officers involved in the project, the people are looking forward to the benefits the library would bring to their children. They recounted the story of how one mother in Kikori lamented the lack of reading skills in her children even though they are already in school. She herself is unable to read and is looking forward to the establishment of the library.
The Catholic Church in Kikori has shown its support by donating materials for a kit learning space in the library, which will be extended by OSF. The foundation also plans to work with the Catholic Church to roll out a floating library for children in Kikori who do not have access to formal education or literacy materials due to isolation.
Caption: Final signatures between Oil Search Foundation and United Church PNG(UCPNG) Representatives in Port Moresby today; (L-R) OSF Head of Expansion Programs, Jean Martin, Rev Wesis Porop – Assembly Secretary UCPNG, OSF Executive Director, Stephanie Copus-Campbell, Philip Aeava – Legal Officer UCPNG (standing), Kali Sete – Secretary, Development Unit UCPNG and BbP’s Deputy Executive Officer, Leanne Resson. (Source: OSF)