Ken Ike Okere
This profile was prepared when Ken Ike Okere was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Over the last decade, young Nigerians’ interest in reading has decreased dramatically. In fact, a poor reading culture has been blamed for Nigeria’s slow growth in several fields and indentified by many as one of the main causes of the society’s weaknesses. Ken has co-created and nurtured a platform, the Abuja Literary Society (ALS), to revive that dying culture. Through, a special purpose platform, The Abuja Read Project (ARP), which he founded, he is establishing reading clubs so that young people can be more knowledgeable and more productive members of society. Through ARP, young people act as peer educators who set up groups in their schools that focus on not only reading, but also on engaged discussion and debate, critical review, and other forms of expression. As members of reading clubs spread these programs around the country, thousands of young people are renewing Nigeria’s reading and literary culture, despite dismal levels of state funding for education and libraries.