Market Akenkan (Market Reading) is a reading and creative play outreach event for the children of market women organized by Libreria Ghana, a library and ideas space in the Ghanaian capital, and the Spelling Bee, a national literacy program that teaches students how to use the English language effectively.
This initiative goes out into markets around Accra and organizes reading, storytelling, and writing sessions for children aged between 4-15. The event is designed to encourage children to improve their literacy skills by providing a half-day of stimulating reading activities and support to help them enjoy a range of culturally and socially relevant books and intellectually challenging activities. The hope is that the children (and their parents) will be inspired to consider reading as an integral part of their daily lives with a long-term economic benefit rather than as an academic chore. They work with the Market Queen and her Executive Team to organize the sessions to ensure that the children and their parents are involved from the start and feel ownership of the event.
The aim is to take the event around markets in Accra and Ghana, promoting reading as a fun and necessary activity that all children should have access to regardless of socioeconomic status. It shows how literacy can be a route out of poverty and into greater educational and economic opportunities by helping children to think beyond their current circumstances and into the future.
The first Market Akenkan was held in August 2018. It attracted 85 children and five market women. By the end of 2018, having covered three markets within a four-mile radius, they will have reached almost 600 children in one small corner of Accra. The program has received significant media attention because of its innovative approach to engaging an often overlooked group in literacy and literature
What our grantee has to say:
"This project will expand the library community across socioeconomic backgrounds, education and literacy levesl, and geographic location. It will expose many children to the joy of reading for pleasure and will highlight the connection between reading and the importance of creating and telling their own stories."
What our trustees have to say:
"This initiative brings books and the joy of reading to a group that has been marginalized from public discourse due to economic and class prejudice."
"An inspiring project that works with the women as equal partners in the delivery and design of the program."
"They have built trust in the community and their success is based on forging these relationships."
Funded by Libraries (December 2018)