The Director of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja while receiving the students from three secondary schools, noted that the collaboration between UNIC Nigeria and its counterpart in Kenya was to develop greater awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions between the two countries and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
Penpushing further reports that, Kayanja pointed out that, languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing tangible and intangible heritage, stressing that, “they transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way. We must preserve our mother languages.” .
Penpushing also reports that, the Deputy Director of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nairobi, Newton Kanhema, in Swahili, explained that, ‘No Poverty’ means ‘Hakuna Umaskini’,while other words which the Nigerian participants learned were ‘Hello’ which in Swahili means ‘Habari yako’ while the response is ‘Nzuri’ which means ‘Good’.
The Nairobi participants learned that ‘No Poverty’ means ‘Ba Talauci’ in Hausa language; ‘Ise buse’ in Yoruba language and ‘Enweghi Idaogbenye’ in Igbo language, while the dialogue also explored the basic greetings in the various languages.
Penpushing further reports that, in line with the advice of the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services which encouraged people around the world to state their favorite proverb in their mother tongue, a few proverbs in local languages were discussed
The proverbs include; “A child who refuses the wise counsel of his parents, will be taught a hard lesson by outsiders”; “No one beats his chest with a finger”; among others.
The National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, earlier in his remark noted that International Mother Language day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
Penpushing also reports that, Soremekun disclosed that “every two weeks, a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.”
The participating students on their observations said, it was so instructive and exciting to shared their linguistic diversity with each other, stating that the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 (No Poverty) was said in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages while the Nairobi team provided the Swahili language translation.