Vivo Energy Ghana, the distributors and marketers of Shell products, has launched a project to increase school children's access to relevant educational content through technology.
The "Vivo Energy Community Digital Literacy Project," being piloted in partnership with Worldreader and the Northern Regional Library Authority, seeks to reinforce reading skills and help mitigate the learning loss caused by the schools' closure during the peak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In its first phase, the project is targeting children in more than 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 would also take the opportunity to help sensitise households on the COVID-19 safety protocols and the risks associated with non-compliance to the safety measures.
The Corporate Communications Manager at Vivo Energy Ghana, Shirley Tony Kum, speaking at the launch, said to ensure effective implementation of the project, household facilitators had been trained and would have access to remote support through structured daily lesson plans and book title recommendations for specific targeted outcomes.
She said the project would promote Sustainable Development Goal Four which is targeted at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education within the implementing area.
Vivo Energy, she said, 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 of 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, Mrs Kum said, included the training of some Senior High School (SHS) 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.
During the lock-down, she said the company funded the rollout of an alternative e-learning platform accessible to all senior high school students in partnership with ABCDE Africa and eCampus.
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.