In a significant development for linguistic diversity and cultural preservation in Ghana, Babykaafo, the Spelling “G” Competition Initiators and the Bureau of Ghana Languages have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This partnership aims to promote and celebrate local languages and cultures through a unique and innovative nationwide TV and radio competition.
The MoU was signed on the 12th of December 2023 at the premises of the Bureau of Ghana Languages. In attendance were Mr. Enoch A. Adibuer, Mrs. Safiatu Musah, and Mr. Enoch Annan Eduful representing the Bureau of Ghana Languages, Mr. Joseph Narnor and Dr. Sharon Nana Yaa Ofori-Wirekoi representing Babykaafo.
The Babykaafo Spelling “G” Competition is set to be an annual 13-week event that will bring together contestants from across Ghana to participate in a thrilling spelling competition in their indigenous languages. The competition has garnered substantial attention and is projected to captivate the minds of at least a million Ghanaians within the next two years.
The official launch of the Spelling “G” Competition took place on the 13th of July 2023 with a representative from the Ministry of Education presiding over the event. The collaboration also involves the Language Centre of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), the Bureau of Ghana Languages, and The National Commission on Culture.
The implementation strategy for schools includes preliminary rounds, workshops, and a grand final event. Schools will be involved in the pre-selection of contestants, followed by workshops to emphasize the beauty, importance, and nuances of their chosen local languages. The final round will be a 13-week series event showcasing the linguistic prowess of the finalists, with the final round being shot at the University of Professional Studies, Accra. This will take place in the first half of the year – 2024. The second half of the year will witness the same competition. This time, however, it will be between participants from the public.
The competition is set to feature languages such as Ga, Dangme, Twi, Ewe, Hausa, Dagbani/Dagare, Fante and Nzema in its maiden edition, with each school open to presenting participants in as many of the above languages as possible. Moreover, the initiative aims to select seven or more schools for the final 13-series shooting.
According to Mr. Enoch Adinortey Adibuer of BGL, this partnership is a great stride for the BGL as an institution, as they look forward to such collaborations to promote the importance, adoption, and usage of our mother tongues, the Ghanaian languages. Dr. Sharon Nana Yaa Ofori-Wirekoi of Babykaafo, on her part, expressed the joy of the signing of the MoU, in the light of the fact that since its inception in 2017, Babykaafo has seen and engaged BGL as a critical partner in its effort to improve maternal health care delivery in Ghana and Africa, via indigenous languages.
The impact of the initiative is expected to be far-reaching. It will contribute to national development by harnessing linguistic diversity, thereby fostering economic development, internal cohesion, and international relations. Additionally, the competition is seen to promote national unity through the celebration of language diversity, encouraging mutual appreciation, love, and understanding among Ghanaians. Furthermore, it is anticipated that adept knowledge of native languages will lead to better cognitive and linguistic development, potentially improving overall academic results and communication.
In conclusion, the Babykaafo Spelling “G” Competition represents a significant step towards safeguarding Ghana’s linguistic heritage, fostering holistic cognitive development, and promoting national unity and growth. The signing of the MoU between the initiators of the said competition and the Bureau of Ghana Languages marks a pivotal moment in the development, preservation, and celebration of indigenous languages in Ghana.
This partnership is a commendable effort that aligns with the broader goals of cultural preservation and national development. It is a testament to the commitment to upholding linguistic diversity and ensuring that indigenous languages continue to thrive in the modern era.
As the competition prepares to unfold in the coming months, the support and participation of government agencies, corporate organizations, and educational institutions will be crucial in ensuring its success and impact on the cultural and educational landscape of Ghana.
Babykaafo is a social enterprise founded in 2017 with a mission to ensure that “no mother or child in Ghana and Africa dies as a result of the lack of the right information, at the right time and in the language they understand.” This, they are seeking to achieve via the use of both technological means and traditional engagement of mothers and caregivers in the country and Africa. Babykaafo can be reached via phone at 0560 700 700 or on their social media handle @babykaafo.
Contact: Mr. Joseph Narnor (Babykaafo) 0560 700 700.
About The Bureau of Ghana Languages:
The Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL) is a government agency currently under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The BGL was established originally as the Vernacular Literature Bureau with the aid of UNESCO in 1951 by Ordinance 27 of 1950 (CAP. 119) as amended by Ordinance No. 44 of 1951. The BGL is the focal point for developing, promoting, orthographic control, and learning Ghanaian Languages and Cultures. The BGL also influences Government Policies on Ghanaian languages through the coordination of all agencies involved in the development, promotion, and learning of Ghanaian Languages and Cultures.
The Bureau is the only government publishing house that publishes books solely in the local languages for schools, colleges, universities, and the general public. Translation, transcription, proofreading and editing, interpretation, and manuscript assessment works are also done by the BGL apart from teaching the local languages and training media personnel and interpreters. It also serves as the storehouse of information on Ghanaian Languages.
Contact: Mr. Enoch Adinortey Adibuer (BGL) 0208273917 / 0542456548