More than 50 of CODE’s most loyal supporters braved the humidity last week to attend CODE’s annual donor reception - held this year at the beautifully renovated allsaints community space in Sandy Hill. The reception date, Thursday September 8th, was very à propos as it marked the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s International Literacy Day and the launch of the new Global Education Monitoring Report.
Scott Walter, CODE’s Executive Director, hosted the evening and paid special tribute to one of CODE’s most generous donors, William “Bill” Burt. Mr. Burt became involved with CODE in 2007 after taking part in its 2007 Seeing is Believing Tour to Ethiopia. Upon his return from that trip, Bill became a devoted and exceptionally generous CODE supporter. His first order of business? To help CODE get engaging books into the hands of young adults. In 2008, The Burt Award for African Literature was launched in Tanzania to recognise excellent, engaging and culturally relevant books. Burt Award programs for three more African countries soon followed. There are now Burt Award programs for Caribbean Literature and, most recently, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Literature.
Poor health prevented Mr. Burt from receiving the CODE Director’s Award but accepting it on his behalf were dignitaries from three countries in which the Burt Award program has made a tremendous impact -- namely Ms. Ukubi Hanfere Mohammed, First Secretary, public diplomacy of the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Paul James Makelele from the Tanzanian High Commission, and Dr. Sulley Gariba –High Commissioner to Ghana.
Other attendees included CODE board member Rosamaria Durand, long-time CODE member and donor, Gwynneth Evans, and Afreenish Yusirah –CODE’s new CODE on Campus representative from Carleton University.
The event was also an opportunity for CODE to acknowledge 25 years of partnership with its UNESCO award-winning partners the Children’s Book Project of Tanzania and Associação Progresso of Mozambique.
The event concluded with the exciting announcement of CODE’s 2017 Seeing is Believing –Ghana tour. His Excellency, Dr. Sulley Gariba, High Commissioner to Ghana, personally extended an invitation to the audience promising participants a very warm welcome to his country. The tour, set to begin on February 15th 2017, will provide participants with the opportunity to visit children and teachers engaged in CODE’s programming in schools in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Shelagh Rogers has been a supporter of the CODE Burt Award program in Canada since its launch in 2013 – donating her time each year to be with us as host of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature ceremony. Shelagh also interviews the authors and showcases their accomplishments on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, a program devoted to Canadian writers.
Everyone at CODE deeply appreciates Shelagh's commitment to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis writers creating culturally-relevant stories for all Canadians to read, learn and enjoy.
Shelagh Rogers hosting the 3rd annual CODE Burt Award ceremony at UBC First Nations Longhouse in 2015.
It is a profound joy to volunteer with CODE and to be a small part of the great work they are doing. The CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Literature for young people has created a legacy where Indigenous children and young adults see themselves in stories. I am so pleased to have hosted the awards event since its inception. Witnessing young readers meeting authors is nothing short of thrilling! Thank you, CODE, for your amazing leadership in sharing great stories of every kind.
Shelagh interacting with students and teachers at Amiskwaciy Academy during the 2017 CODE Burt Award ceremony in Edmonton.
Shelagh grew up in Ottawa and began her broadcasting career at CKWS in Kingston, Ontario hosting a country music program while still a student at Queen's University. Over the years, she became a nationally distinguished broadcast journalist on flagship CBC programs such as Morningside, Sounds Like Canada, and This Morning. Shelagh is currently based in British Columbia hosting and producing CBC's The Next Chapter.
In September 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and her citation reads:
"Shelagh Rogers is a passionate journalist, activist, and promoter of all things Canadian. A nationally renowned radio broadcaster, she is best known for hosting the CBC’s This Morning and Sounds Like Canada. Also highly regarded for her advocacy work, she has spoken out to help destigmatize mental illness and has raised awareness and funds for adult literacy initiatives. She now champions reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people as an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada."
Rogers was appointed Chancellor of the University of Victoria in 2015 and is the co-editor of Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential School (2012), Reconciliation and the Way Forward (2014), and Speaking My Truth: A Journey to Reconciliation (2018).
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”
- A. A. Milne
As a young child, my heart was drawn to the spark of curiosity and wonder that stories have to offer. I read everything I could get my little hands on – Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew, and others. But my favourite was always Winnie the Pooh.
I could not have imagined a childhood without the gift of reading. And because of this gift, I have always been an avid reader, and I am a devoted life-long learner.
This is why I believe in CODE – because I believe in the life-changing power of reading and education.
Reading is not just an escape to a fantastic realm of magic. It shows us a reflection of our world and of ourselves. It unlocks the potential in every child and empowers them to lift themselves into a brighter future.
As a CODE donor, I have had the opportunity to visit the schools that my gifts help sustain. I have seen the enthusiasm and excitement of the children as they are inspired by their teachers and schoolwork. And I recognize that same spark of curiosity in their eyes that I had as a child – reading is truly magical and the adventure that is education.
Adele Imrie with students outside a Maasai village school in northern Tanzania.
I believe each of those children I met will go on to make a difference, and be a positive force in their communities, families, and for themselves.
That gives me incredible hope. And it also makes me grateful – not only for every opportunity I had as a child but for this opportunity I have now to offer the same kind of experience to children everywhere.
I have seen and felt the difference my gifts to CODE have made. It’s why I keep giving – because I know every dollar I give is doing the good work that I deeply believe in.
And I know that together, we can continue to open minds and spark a love of reading – and lifelong learning – in children all over the world.
For the love of reading,
CODE Foundation Board Chair
Long-time Donor & Forever Friend of CODE
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in The Lawyers Daily by Carolyn Gruske (January 4, 2018)
Very few people ever get to summit a mountain. Even fewer have the opportunity to do so multiple times. This summer, Chris Bredt intends to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro for the fourth time — and to do so while raising money for charity.
Bredt, a senior litigation partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and a bencher with the Law Society of Ontario, is also a board member of the CODE Foundation, an organization that manages the endowment fund for the Canadian Organization for Development through Education, better known as CODE. CODE is a Canadian international development organization focused on advancing literacy and education around the world. Although it runs one program in Canada that produces literature for First Nations, Inuit and Métis young adults, and one in the Caribbean, most of its work is done in African countries including Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania (among others), helping to train teachers and to produce and make books available in local languages.
The education of women and girls is also a priority for CODE, said Bredt.
“The power of education, in essence, you are building up the human resources of these countries and in the long run, that is going to do more for development than any other program there. Education is the key, and particularly, education of women and girls. The importance of educating a girl or a woman in Africa ... can’t be overstated. The girls that are educated, their kids are better educated, their kids are healthier, it does huge amounts for development.”
To support that education, Bredt is once again organizing a fundraising climb of the famous African mountain. Set for July, the Summit for Literacy, will see Bredt and the climbers spending seven days hiking up to the summit of the mountain (Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t a technical climb, it is typically considered a trek that is walkable) on the Lemosho Route, which starts on the far western part of the mountain and two days descending the mountain.
Over the course of the climb, Bredt said participants will experience an incredible range of sights.
"Kilimanjaro is right on the equator, so each day is quite different. When you start off on your first day, you are climbing through a tropical jungle. You don’t see the mountain. You are hiking through a forest. You might see some black-and-white colobus monkeys, and there are blue monkeys there. The first night, you camp in the forest. The second day you would climb out of the forest through what’s called the heathland. At the end of day two, you come over a ridge and you’re on the Shira plateau ... you actually first see the mountain because you have to get up out of the forest before you actually see the summit. On the Shira plateau, it’s actually like a savannah, like grasslands. As you go higher, you get to an alpine desert.
“Obviously, when you get to the summit there are still glaciers and ice fields up there, although I have to say, every time I go the ice is less, it’s going higher up the mountain. I expect that maybe 20 or 30 years from now there’s not going to be much ice left at the top of Kilimanjaro at all,” he said.
Bredt, who is in his early 60s, said that every climber who has accompanied him on past excursions to the mountain has made it to the summit, which is important when the goal is to raise funds, and that he has taken people ranging in age from 15 to 68.
“The only difficult part about climbing Kilimanjaro is acclimatizing to the elevation. It’s quite high. It’s about 19,400 feet. So the longer you take to give your body an opportunity to acclimatize, the more likely you are to get to the summit.”
While it may not be what Bredt calls difficult, the climb does pose some challenges beyond a simple walk in the park.
“When you do the climb, it’s like a community. Everybody is helping everybody. You can’t do the climb without becoming really good friends with people you are spending time on the mountain with. There are some tough days when everybody really digs in together. You’re eating dinner and you’re spending a lot of time chatting. Everybody who has come on the climb has had quite an experience, both in terms of getting to the summit, but also in terms of the people they’ve met but also getting to know Tanzania,” said Bredt.
Since organizing the first climb in 2006 and following up with summits in 2010 and 2014, Bredt said climbers have raised over $1 million, including matching funds from government programs.
People who want to participate pay their own way to Tanzania, buy their own equipment and commit to raising at least $5,000. The money is collected via individualized websites set up by CODE for each climber.
Typically, Bredt said participants spend between $8,000 and $10,000 on the trip, as most people undertake a safari after the climb, since some of the country’s top game parks, including Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, are nearby. Additionally, Bredt said he could arrange visits to the schools benefitting from the CODE programs.
Lawyers have made up a large percentage of the climbers in the past, and it looks like the legal community will be well represented this year.
Currently, Elizabeth Grace, a partner at Lerners LLP; Susan Vella, senior litigation counsel and practice group leader, sexual and institutional abuse and Aboriginal rights groups at Rochon Genova LLP; John O’Reilly, vice-president, legal counsel, labour, employment and litigation at Loblaw Companies Limited; Herman Van Ommen, past president of the Law Society of British Columbia; and Jeff Kehoe, director of enforcement for the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) are scheduled to take part.
“The more people who sign up, the more money you raise and it’s more successful,” Bredt said.
“Once you actually go and visit the schools and see the work that is being done, it deepens the commitment: you can’t come away without saying, ‘we’re making a difference here.’ ”
While some may question what benefit or enjoyment Bredt gets after making multiple trips to the same destination, he said there is a very simple reason why he keeps journeying up the mountain and raising money.
“These kids are so eager to learn. In Canada, we take for granted books and things. They don’t have a lot of that stuff in countries where we work, and if you actually go and you see these kids, they get so excited when they get the books and pencils. It’s very inspiriting. It’s part of why I keep doing that. Because I’m a reasonably successful lawyer, but I’m not always sure I’m making a huge difference, but I tell you, when you go to Africa and you visit the schools, you know you are making a huge difference.”
“I want my legacy to inspire future generations to achieve their highest potential and through CODE I know that will be possible.” -Gwynneth Evans
Communication is at the heart of all our relationships. And human beings are fortunate to have many and varied ways to communicate and connect with one another. Communication allows us to tell our stories.
The possibility of fostering relationships and the joy and pleasure of reading have prompted me to leave funds to CODE in my Will.
Having witnessed and taken part in the transfer of knowledge and skills since the late 60s in sub-Saharan Africa, I can speak personally of the transformation of individuals and communities when they are given the opportunity to read and write. I still remember my first weeks of teaching in Uganda and our need to find common ground, in order to learn from one another.
As we attempt collectively to address very urgent questions for our planet and our world, it is important that young people are engaged and recognize that they, too, can make a difference in reaching the goals and plans of future generations. Books and the joy of learning are fundamental to our future. Communication brings us together and stimulates learning and our imaginations.
This LEAVE A LEGACY™ month, I encourage you to think about what you want your legacy to be.
by Scott Walter, CODE Executive Director
Along with CODE's Director of International Programs, Hila Olyan, and CODE Youth Representative, Stephanie Ferrao — I had the pleasure of attending the parliamentary address of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai as she received her honorary Canadian citizenship on April 12th. I have heard Malala speak before but left feeling more impressed than ever. Her message is clear and concise and spoken with humble conviction and self-assuredness, making it all the more forceful. In fact she couldn’t have been more explicit in terms of what she saw as a fundamental solution to the world’s problems. Education first, education for all!
International Development Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau provided a few comments to The Hill Times following Malala's speech:
“She’s asking us to focus on girls’ education, and we will,” said International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau (Compton-Stanstead, Que.), speaking in the foyer of the House after Ms. Yousafzai’s speech. “Women and girls will be at the heart of the new policy and we strongly believe in education,” she added, speaking about the government’s international assistance policy review, the results of which are expected to be released before the summer. The minister said it’s currently in the “writing phase,” and would not comment on whether the policy will include an increase in funding.
Seems like Minister Bibeau heard her as well. Given the Policy paper is still ‘in the writing phase’, maybe "Malalamania" will have an impact on what it ultimately says about education.
When you support CODE, you support education for all!
At CODE we are so fortunate to work with some incredible volunteers. One of these amazing people is Rick Wilks.
Rick transformed Canada’s literary landscape in 1976 when he co-founded Annick Press Ltd. – one of the most cutting-edge and innovative publishers of books for children and young adults.
Rick supports CODE's Reading Programs in Tanzania and Kenya where he conducts workshops with local writers and publishers - offering guidance and expertise.
In Rick’s own words:
“I have followed CODE activities for many years, motivated by my interest in development through literacy and reading. I’m convinced that a society that encourages and promotes reading, especially among its youth, will become a more socially cohesive community where citizens enjoy a higher level of achievement and are more actively involved in civil society.”
“CODE is committed to my great passion: the building of a writing and publishing culture so that nations have a strong sense of who they are. Most importantly, if a culture recognizes itself in its literature, youth are better prepared to face the challenges of finding their place in society and functioning as healthy, contributing citizens.”
Thank you, Rick, for all you do to support CODE’s work with local authors and publishers!
CODE’s Director of International Programs, Hila Olyan, and Firas Elfarr, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, participated in The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Annual Meeting in Atlanta Georgia from March 5-9, 2017.
CODE's Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Firas Elfarr presenting at CIES 2017.
CODE expert-volunteer, Dr. Charles Temple speaking to attendees at CIES 2017.
CODE gave two presentations – Reading CODE: Assessing a Comprehensive Readership Initiative in Tanzania (with CODE expert-volunteer Charles Temple co-presenting) and Reading Kenya Breaks New Ground in Literacy Education in Kajiado County – presented by CODE's Kenyan experts Dr. Adelheid Bwire from Kenyatta University and Dr. George Andima from Kisii University.
Dr. Adelheid Bwire from Kenyatta University in Nairobi presenting at CIES 2017.
Dr. George Andima from Kisii University in Kenya speaking at CIES 2017.
The CIES was founded in 1956 to foster cross-cultural understanding, scholarship, academic achievement and societal development through the international study of educational ideas, systems, and practices. The Society’s members include over 3000 academics, students, practitioners, and policymakers from around the world.
CODE was very pleased to hear Deputy Director of Education for Global Affairs Canada, Julia Dicum, mention CODE’s Reading Kenya program in her presentation.
For more info about CIES visit www.cies2017.org/cies-2017/
By: Heloísa Modesto, CODE Programme Manager and Gender Specialist
“I decided to become a teacher because I like to share my knowledge with others.” -Isaquiel Vicente
What a surprise to discover that Isaquiel Vicente - a teacher I met today at the IFP Joaquim Chisane in Pemba, Cabo Delgado, had years before attended an elementary school I had visited in the district of Montepuez back in 2001! Isaquiel, now 21, is the perfect example of young Mozambican who has benefited from the long-term commitment of CODE, with Associação Progresso, and the Canadian Government supporting primary education in Cabo Delgado in Mozambique.
Isaquiel was a primary student at Escola Completa de Alto Gingone, at a time when the education system in Mozambique was expanding rapidly as it tried to meet the Education For All Millenium Development Goals. At that time, CODE and Progresso - with funds from a bilateral project funded by Canada - supported in-service training as the high demand for teachers had left the government with no choice but to hire untrained teachers.
Our initiative also promoted the development of local, mother-tongue children’s books in Mozambique and created school libraires. In a country where often student teachers have never had access to children books themselves, I was very excited to find out that Isaquiel had read several children books, and his favourite book was Ladrão de Tesouros, from Machado da Graça – a book that was published as part of the national literature contexts and provided to his primary school by our former project in Cabo Delgado.
Isaquiel explained: “I decided to become a teacher because I like to share my knowledge with others” and by being a reader, Isaquiel will surely have much more to share with Mozambican primary students in the coming years. In his first month attending the teacher education program, Isaquiel was a finalist in the reading competitions promoted through the BETTER Project, which CODE and country partner Associação Progresso are implementing in his IFP to improve initial teacher education in Mozambique.
On March 4th the IFP Alberto Chipande in Pemba, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique hosted the launch of a collection of 26 titles, involving 6 languages. This initiative is an important part of BETTER - as it supports the creation of concept books and books for emergent readers from initial primary classes.
Approximately 400 people attended the event — including government representatives, teacher educators, student teachers, primary students, teachers and parents.
The highlight was a reading competition in which 18 children from grades 2 to 7 indulged and inspired the audience with a varied array of short stories. The IFP student teachers animated the event with group and individual art performances.
The Global Affair’s Canada funded BETTER program (Better Education through Teacher Training and Empowerment for Results) is being implemented by CODE together with Associação Progresso and the Mozambican Ministry of Education and Human Development in four of Mozambique’s 12 provinces. The program is also generously supported by Mozambique LNG.