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Script 78.2

Notes to broadcasters

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In African communities, from Nouakchott to Accra, and Yaoundé to Nairobi, the majority of people – almost 70 per cent – are non-literate, which means they have difficulty reading and writing in any one language. If illiteracy can be eliminated, everyone will benefit.

Script

Host:
Good morning (afternoon, evening). Today we’re going to hear a short drama on mobilizing to overcome illiteracy. The drama explores the question: Why might football, Africa’s favourite sport, hold the secret to overcoming illiteracy?

Youngsters, adults, and older people are all football fans. Football is the most popular sport in Africa. In Benin, a regular game of the national football team mobilizes the whole population. Supporter associations, fan clubs, and federations of women’s supporters of the national team all raise money by organizing fundraising campaigns and by canvassing firms, decision?makers and people of good will. Everybody remembers Senegal’s participation in the 2002 World Cup. All over Africa, hearts were beating for the Senegal Lions. This year, in 2006, the World Cup is cheering teams from Togo, Ghana, Angola and the Ivory Coast on to the championship!

The following scene shows a young man who encourages his community to mobilize in favour of education. The scene takes place at Abomey in Benin.

Noise of a hammer on an anvil, women talking and pounding millet.

Sagbo:
Aren’t you going to the football game tonight?

Hoovi:
Of course! I worked in the fields yesterday until 7 p.m. to finish ploughing my cassava plot, so I could watch the national football team’s game.

Sagbo:
(Pause) You know that we are lazy, Hoovi?

Hoovi:
What do you mean we’re lazy?

Sagbo:
Members of the Rural Federation who support the national team have had their convention. The Producer Committee for the national football team, the local fan club for the Squirrels, and the Bush Taxi Association for the Extension of Benin’s National Team have all organized their Annual General Meetings. Our Association of Young Sons of Planters is the only one which has not. And all because you are lazy, young man!

Hoovi:
But I told you before. All we need to do is set a date and inform all the members.

Screaming crowd in the distance. Muted noise.

Sagbo:
Listen, the game has started.

Hoovi:
And apparently something has happened on the scoreboard!

Cross fade to football stadium noises and fans screaming.

Sagbo:
Hey! To your left! Pass it to number 6!

Hoovi:
I cannot believe it! How could he miss that goal?

Sagbo:
I am going home. This is boring!

Hoovi:
No, let us stay a bit longer!

Sagbo:
Ha! Another goal scored against our team! This time, I’m really going home.

Hoovi:
I agree. Let’s go. The six million that our town raised for the National Football Federation is wasted because we are losing 3?0 with one minute left in regular time.

Sagbo:
If this is the way it is going to end most of the time, I will not contribute to the fundraising campaigns. Look who is coming.

Elementary School teacher:
(coming on mic) Are you O.K., youngsters?

Sagbo and Hoovi:
Yes, sir!

Elementary School teacher :
You are disappointed, aren’t you?

Sagbo:
Of course!

Elementary School teacher:
No! You should not be disappointed! Football is a game like all other games. And these are men who are playing.

Sagbo:
Yes, but the other team is winning and we never do!

Hoovi:
The worst part of it is that we invested all of our money.

Sagbo:
Gone with the wind! The result could not have been worse!

Elementary School teacher:
Let me tell you something, guys. All this energy that people invest in football, all the money you raised for the national team, imagine if it would have been invested in education! We wouldn’t have children growing up who could not read and write! We would not have hardworking women and men being cheated in the market because they cannot do basic math!

Hoovi:
Yes, this is really true!

Elementary School teacher:
Education is the most essential ingredient because it affects development. There should be a national campaign in favour of education!

Sagbo:
Are you saying, sir, that we should establish fan clubs and supporter associations to fight illiteracy?

Elementary School teacher:
That’s a good idea. Absolutely! Africa and other developing countries need to fund the fight against illiteracy. If every African had been to school, they would know all about good health, environmental protection, hygiene and human rights. Politicians would give speeches about development. They would know how to find resources; the population would ensure that these resources are well managed and our countries would initiate their development.

Hoovi:
But I can’t imagine our parents leaving their fields to talk about something that won’t bring them pleasure or resources immediately.

Sagbo:
And as far as literacy goes, I don’t think we should be asking Grandfather to begin his education all over again.

School teacher:
Everyone will participate as they are able. Grandfather doesn’t need to become literate. He can participate by talking with decision-makers, because people listen to the voices of elders. Some people will be able to provide financial support. Others will be able to volunteer their time, and so on.

Musical break

Sagbo:
Dear friends, after tallying the vote, Mr. Hoovi is elected as the president of our fan club, the Association of the Young Sons of Planters for Eradicating Illiteracy. He wins with 52 votes against six for his opponent.

Numerous voices:
Long live the fan club! Long live youth! We will defeat illiteracy!


Acknowledgements

Contributed by Pacome Tomètissi, Réseau de Réalisateurs et Journalistes pour Population et Développement (ReJPoD), P.O. Box 1756, Abomey Calavi – Benin.
Reviewed by Helen Hambly Odame, Associate Professor, Capacity Development and Extension, University of Guelph.