Cultural AwarenessSeptember 20, 2023by Bossone0Championing Mother Tongue Literacy: Reflections on USAID Rwanda’s Seminar

As the president of CCI Group and a proud fluent speaker of 2 languages (fluently, with the other 2 languages I speak, I can only communicate for basic but important necessities such as asking for pizza or wine), I had the honor of attending a USAID seminar this morning titled “Progress & Possibilities: USAID Rwanda’s investments in mother tongue early literacy development from 2011 to the present.” The seminar was a testament to the strides made in promoting mother tongue literacy, a cause deeply resonant with our mission at CCI Group. 

Dr. Joanie Cohen Mitchell talked about the Policy and Technical Leadership Lead at USAID Center for Education and she emphasized the UNESCO theme for International Literacy Day, which accentuates literacy’s pivotal role in constructing inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable societies. Dr. Mitchell’s remarks underscored the profound impact of literacy, especially in the context of USAID’s work in Rwanda. 

Dr. Catherine Honeyman, USAID Rwanda’s Senior Education Specialist, presented a captivating retrospective study on USAID’s 12-year investment in basic education. The emphasis on Kinyarwanda language literacy was particularly noteworthy. This focus on mother tongue literacy is not just about reading and writing; it’s about preserving culture, fostering understanding, and laying the groundwork for future learning. 

Progress & Possibilities: USAID Rwanda’s Investments in Mother Tongue Early Literacy Development from 2011 to the Present


One of the most heartening revelations was the paradox Dr. Honeyman highlighted: while the world grappled with learning loss due to COVID-19, Rwanda witnessed learning gains. This achievement is a testament to the concerted efforts of the government, development partners, and the community at large. 

Then a wonderful panel came, and they spotlighted the importance of home and community support for literacy. The data presented during this event showcased a positive trend, with an increasing number of caregivers engaging in reading activities at home. This collaborative approach between schools, homes, and communities is indeed a model worth emulating. 

Another thing that truly stood out for me was the inclusion of Rwanda Sign Language (RSL) interpreters. This gesture is more than just a nod to inclusivity; it’s a testament to USAID’s unwavering commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). At CCI Group, we understand the foundational role of literacy in building inclusive and sustainable societies. The use of RSL interpreters resonates deeply with our mission and values. 

In conclusion, the seminar was not just an informative session but a reaffirmation of the importance of mother tongue literacy. It’s about more than just reading and writing; it’s about preserving culture, fostering understanding, and building a foundation for future learning. I am immensely proud to be part of an industry that recognizes and champions this cause. Kudos to USAID for their continued efforts in this direction and for setting a benchmark in DEIA. 


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