The role of religious activities in fostering literacy: A case of the seventh day adventist church in Mongu district
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From the onset of formal education, the church has been government’s partner in the provision and fostering of literacy. Zambia is constitutionally and demographically a Christian nation. The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church was selected for this study because it is a protestant denomination involved in the provision of literature to the public and runs one of the largest education systems in the world. The main objective of the study was to investigate the role of religious activities in fostering literacy and the SDA Church in Mongu district was used as the case study. This study was premised on Paulo Freire’s theory of Liberation Theology where literacy is expected to bring about a process of critical reflection and aid one navigate one’s way through life. The research employed the qualitative design to collect data from a study sample of fifty respondents comprising two Pastors, four Church elders, twelve literature evangelists and thirty-two members of the public. Data was collected using purposive sampling. The instruments which were used included the semi-structured interview guide, Observation checklist, focus group discussion guide and a questionnaire. Data was analysed qualitatively according to emerging themes and patterns of responses. The study’s findings indicated that the books the SDA Church provided to the public did foster literacy and the books about health were the most popular among the members of the public. The literature was generally aiding people in different life situations to enjoy the benefit of reading to learn. In view of these findings, the study recommended that the SDA Church could advertise the books in the media, open up more bookshops for easy access and possibly translate some of the books into local languages so as to broaden the readership.