- To celebrate the 2022 International Literacy Day, the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) organised a world-class exhibition for beneficiaries of some of its empowerment initiatives
- The executive secretary of the NMEC said this is a show of the commission's commitment to enhancing quality literacy service delivery in Nigeria
- According to Professor Simon Ibor Akpama, such service delivery to the people can usher in the desired development in Nigeria
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On Thursday, September 22, the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) brought together beneficiaries of the commission's various adult and non-formal initiatives to commemorate the 2022 International Literacy Day.
Themed, 'Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces: Exploring the Opportunities and Possibilities', the 2022 ILD is aimed at creating learning spaces that could serve as a requisite for building resilience and ensuring equality, equitable and inclusive education for all.
The event which took place in Abuja had in attendance Nigerians from all walks of life who witnessed a grand exhibition of skills, products and many more from the beneficiaries of NMEC's Rural Facilitaors' Scheme (RFS), the Literacy by Radio (LBR), Literacy through Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES) and many more.
Speaking to Legit.ng one of the participants, Gloria Jonah said events like this conducted by the NMEC always provide her with opportunities to source locally made products which are affordable, strong and durable.
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Confirming the claim made by Jonah, one of the beneficiaries of the initiatives, Loveth Onah, who spoke to Legit.ng said the NMEC's exhibitions, give her the needed platform to market her products.
Onah who makes all kinds of bags - travel bags, handbags, toilet bags, the look-alike of Nigeria's popular Ghana Must Go bags and many more - said her products come in different shapes and sizes.
According to her, the greatest gain from the exhibition is that she shares her contact with participants who come to her stand so that even long after the event has ended, she gets called for delivery of products requested by these customers.
"Our bags are very strong and durable, people have had to call me on the phone after they had bought one or two to either request more or even introduce clients to me.
"I meet majority of my clients from these exhibitions, I also do online marketing, word of mouth so the initiave has been very helpful to me."
Onah further explained that while the materials for the bag production are always sourced locally, her greatest challenge has always been making sales but through the NMEC various projects in which she has been a part, she sells her goods effortlessly.
"Initially, I was not financially buoyant, I was doing this craft as much as my pocket could carry me at the time but most importantly I was steadfast, deliver products on time after sorting for materials.
"I learned about the empowerment project during my youth service year, I went under the Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Department (SAED) and later switched to being a regular student with my NYSC.
"So the token we were given brought a huge change in my business including funds I was sourcing from other places."
The buck does not stop at Onah's feet
For Onah, her skills and details about NMEC's initiatives that can be beneficial to many young Nigerians should not stop at her doorsteps.
To achieve this, she goes a step further to ensure that she passes knowledge to more people by teaching and encouraging skills acquisition.
"We have our women empowerment programmes where we train people at the Department of Mass Education at the Federal Capital Territory Administration in Karu site.
"There I serve as a facoilitayor to teach women these skills and more like 'Show them the way' and in turn help end illetracy."
Loveth confirmed the initiative and platforms created by the NMEC have provided marketing opportunities for her and other beneficiaries.
At the event, Legit.ng also met Joy and her colleague Temitope who produce Lindodo's products - an array of items ranging from disinfectants, air fresheners, car wash detergents, bleach and other cleaning agents.
They also produce oil perfumes which come in different bottles of 5ml, 10mls 20mls and more.
Speaking to Legit.ng, the duo said they get calls from participants after the exhibitions and this has helped in the expansion of their business.
"This morning someone has already come to us and collected our contact, he said he needed us to makes huge supplies to his company.
"We also supply to hotels and majority of our sales comes from shows like this and that's why we never fail to come.
So, its not just about the financial support but such opportunity as this is very imporatnat for us too. Again, we listen to our customers and enusre we meet their needs and demands at all times."
For the Lindodo products team, sourcing raw materials for production has been their biggest challenge.
"Our biggest challenges has been sourcing for materials, as in raw materials. Somethimes, we are short of the containers for bottling.
"Other times, we have the issue of when we go to the market prices have changed and have become higher; you dont't go back to your clients to say prices have changed so it's a big problem for us.
"Because we still will have to make the products available for them."
NMEC's executive secretary speaks
In his address, the executive secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC), Professor Simon Ibor Akpama, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, for their efforts to keep the literacy eradication mandate ship of NMEC afloat.
Akpama also commended the support of partners of the commission including the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, and USAID among many other resource persons who have been key to eradicating illiteracy across the country.
He added that the convocation at the event demonstrates the NMEC's commitment and reaffirmation to enhance quality literacy service delivery that can usher in the desired development in Nigeria.
"International Literacy Day provides another watershed for us to critically assess our progeress and inspire irreversible momentun and explore new possibilities to reposition the promotion the literacy as an essential human right that plays diverse fundamental roles in the developmemt of our societies."
Expantiating on this year's ILD theme, Akpama said the commission's passionate drive can be seen in NMEC's programmes that meet the dynamic learning needs of Nigerian youths and adults in their divergent socio-economic contexts.
COVID-19 pandemic and NMEC's commitment to eradicating illiteracy in Nigeria
Highlighting some of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged economic and key activities across various nations, NMEC's ES noted that the commission's approach and strategies must change especially with the world rapidly becoming a scientific and innovative ecosystem.
"Conscious of these innovations, NMEC is rejuventaing, rebranding, repackaging and respositioning its various strategies such as the Rural Facilitaors' Scheme (RFS), the Literacy by Radio (LBR), the Teach-One-Each-One, the Reflect Programmeamong other numerous impactful strategies."
In addition, Akpama said that other initiatives like the Literacy through Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES) provides new learning platforms and opportunity for the people without undermining or emasculating existing strategies within the commission.
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