Reading improves brain development and promotes self-confidence and creativity, especially among children. Early reading has been linked to significant improvement in children’s learning habits. The promotion of good reading habits among students at all stages of education goes a long way to impact positively on their academic lives.

Nnane Ntube is passionate about reading and using literacy as a tool to improve learning habits, especially among adolescents. A professional teacher by training, the Alumna of the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa, Accra has established a bilingual literacy club in her school, the Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) in Bafia / Lycee Bilingue Bafia, Cameroon. The school, like its counterpart bilingual schools spread across the Central African country, offers bilingual training to its students who come from diverse backgrounds.

When Nnane was posted to the school in 2018, she identified a learning gap in the training process which posed a challenge to students’ reading habits. The school trains its students based on a combination of the anglophone and francophone sub systems of education. Each sub system has two different programs: the regular education and the special bilingual programs. This approach is anticipated to present students with the opportunity to access equal opportunities to explore both French and English literature. For some reason, majority of the bilingual students are unable to gain fluency in both English and French within the stipulated study period.

The school also lacked a library that could provide a safe space for students to read. Students therefore used their library period to loiter about or roam the Bafia township.

Nnane gives an overview of the club’s activities to YALI Accra RLC Director, Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu during the latter’s visit to Bafia

Nnane took the bold step to establish a literacy club in the school prior to applying for YALI training in Accra. Her main motivation for applying for the leadership training was to learn and explore new and innovative ways of making the literacy club successful.

YALI did just that!

During her training, Nnane met and interacted with other young people from across the sub region, in the process learning from and sharing valuable lessons on innovative ways of improving her initiative. On her return, she put her learning experiences to practice and turned things around.

Flashback: Nnane, during her YALI training, shared her experiences and learnt from other young leaders

Nnane, on her return to Bafia, established the GBHS literacy club, introducing a mobile library in the process. The club meets every Friday after school hours. The club frequently organizes literature cafés where students read and discuss identified topics and issues in different books.

The GBHS, Bafia literacy club received a major boost in 2021 when the principal of the school supported the club with a space for students to hold their club activities. Nnane has managed to convert this space, an abandoned classroom, into a library comprising a reading room and a book storage room. In addition, the club has received a donation of some 120 books so far.

With the establishment of the GBHS Literacy Club, students of the school now have every reason to succeed in their quest to attain fluency in both English and French while developing other useful reading and learning habits. “The club teaches us good time management, improves our reading. It also makes us the members united and focused on our education”, says Ameyé Marie, a member of the literacy club who doubles as the secretary of the club.

Bafia, described by many as a mid-sized community, may be 103 km / 64 miles from Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, but has the potential to transform its school going youth to improve their education and impact the community in the medium to short term. This is possible thanks to the effort of Nnane Ntube, a proud Alumna of the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa, Accra.

Some members of the literacy club pose with YALI Accra RLC Project Director, Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu (middle, in black mask) during her visit to the GBHS, Bafia, Cameroon