Country Director of Engage Now Africa (ENA), a non-governmental organisation, has urged literacy stakeholders in Ghana to work together to protect local languages.
Cecilia Amankwah said the country must unite and protect its local languages and properly hand them down to successive generations.
“It is an undeniable fact that, those who are multilingual have many opportunities and can explore this cosmopolitan world. Time has ceased, space has vanished, people from varied backgrounds are meeting and connecting virtually or via the various social media platforms and other technologies. It will be unfortunate to be left out of the current dispensation,” she said.
She added: “Irrespective of the crucial role language plays in our daily engagements, some languages around the world and perhaps in Ghana are disappearing. This is evident by statistics; the United Nations has put forward. 7,000 Languages are spoken worldwide, 370 million Indigenous people in the world, 90 countries with indigenous communities and 5,000 different indigenous cultures, however, there are 2,680 languages in danger. The fading of some languages has gained voice and face, thereby prompting the United Nations to declare 2019 as ‘The year of indigenous Languages’ for the protection of speakers of these languages, and the appreciation of our world’s rich cultural diversity. Engage Now Africa is ever prepared to support this important drive to promote, protect and project the speaking of our indigenous languages.”
Mrs Amankwah made the comments on Wednesday, September 12 during a ceremony to mark the 53rd International Literacy Day celebrations.
The event was held at the GNAT Hall In Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital.
She revealed that since 2014, Engage Now Africa has successfully trained adults under its literacy programme for illiterate adults.
Engage Now Africa has enrolled 8,890 learners in nine out of 16 regions in Ghana. The NGO currently has 390 local facilitators. 2,316 learners have successfully graduated.
In 2018 till date, Engage Now Africa has trained 690 graduate learners from four regions in Ghana on occupational skill training programmes in soap making, batik making, tie and dye making, beads making, cake baking, hair pomade, detergents among others.
Chairman for the ceremony, Nana Asemhene said the theme for this year’s global celebration is “Literacy and Multilingualism,” brings to the fore the crucial role language plays in our daily lives and emphasises how it serves as a repository of unique individual identities and culture.
He said is an undeniable fact that the penultimate of every culture is the language, which bond people together all over the world.
“It is pleasant and a delight to be multilingual, which is a means to connect with people at various and varied levels. The theme is a clarion call on the custodians of our diversified cultures to promote our indigenous languages,” he said.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, commended Engage Now Africa for the immense contribution it makes towards adult education and skills development in the country.
He said the impact of the literacy and skills development programmes on the lives of beneficiaries cannot be overlooked.
He praised Engage Now Africa for introducing the Sustainable Skills Development programme to help train and transform the lives of their participants with lifelong employable skills that will make them self reliant in the long term.