Pajule town council, Pader district

What Are You Doing With The Literacy You Have?


To err is human. That is one thing we cannot take away from ourselves. We set rules for ourselves and break them at a breakneck speed. It is human. It is natural. Trouble begins when we live in denial. The denial that can alter the way of living. That in our living close to righteousness, we are prone to err.

Take for example the way traffic offenses are committed. The rules are always clearly written. The road signs are always standing tall and clear to remind you of what is ahead or of what you are required to do yet do we find ourselves not heeding to the counsel. You drive beyond the advised speed limit and before you know it, the speed gun finds you guilty and you have a penalty to pay.

It is one thing to know what is right to do and another to be able to apply that wisdom when the right time comes. Often, we meander off the road. It is only later that we walk the old road of “I wish”.

Prof. Hellen Inyega of Nairobi University is currently running a research among girls at her university. Together with her fellow lady academics, they found themselves heavily concerned by the way things were happening at the university. Girls in their freshman year would easily fall prey of hungry men who took advantage of their naivety. They observed that these young girls were getting to live a free life for the first time. In most secondary schools, life is guided by a bell. There is a bell for every activity from waking up in the morning to going to bed in the evening. On joining the university, there is a bell no more. For the first time, this girl finds herself with all the time to make her own decisions. Decisions which include choosing whether to go or not to attend classes.

This is all okay until a wrong seed is planted in this girl’s mind and she looks aside; away from her academics.

As the girls get used to the university life, they become friends with the continuing students who in most cases have the alternative ideas on how to go about university life. That is how some people end up getting “sponsors” men that offer them a lavish lifestyle but with conditions or get into the trap of sexually transmitted marks by the lecturers.

When Hellen and team first brought the girls together, they thought they (girls) were not up to date with sexual health literacy only to realise that they knew more than they even expected.

So, if the girls were literate about sexual health, why were they falling victims of the same thing they knew the consequences?

Also read How Literate are we with our languages?

As human beings, there is a chance that there are so many things we know yet we do not apply of their knowledge. We find ourselves unable to control the things we fear. At times we know but we go ahead to break the rules that hold us back. We are victims of the same rules we build to guide us. A society without rules suffers a miserable death but not as worse as that with rules. With rules, you would always expect enforcement. We need to be aware of the things that consume us knowingly or unknowingly. But most important of all, we should have pillars to which our weaker selves find anchorage. To err is human but there has never been glory in err.

We have a duty to remind of ourselves to be on guard of the very things we know because they are likely to be the very things that consume us. But most importantly we should be each other’s keeper to be reminded of how we can counter such things.

This is the last of the series on literacy following #PALFA2019Kampala