Innovative projects for refugees, former child soldiers, and host communities in northern Uganda
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Nov 2014 01

Functional Adult Literacy and Education (FAL)

Posted in News

By Thomas Prince

In 2013 two of our groups launched a functional adult literacy and education training, as a pilot project with GRG’s support.  Both of these groups were asking GRG how they could learn to read and write or improve their basic math skills.  The groups wanted to grow their small businesses and  gain a level of education that would allow them to enroll in vocational training for tailoring, carpentry, hair dressing and other career paths.  GRG responded to this request by turning the question back to the group: how could they gain these skills using their own resources with minimal in-puts from GRG.  And thus our Functional Adult Literacy program was born.  The groups identified some of their members who had completed primary and some secondary level education.  These individuals answered the group request that Yes they could teach the group if they had the right tools.  GRG provided both these groups with black boards, chalk, notebooks and pens.

Fast forward to 2014.  As GRG other groups continued to ask for similar support and after learning from our first two groups how to design and implement a grassroots adult literacy and education project, we have begun to plan how to scale up the activity to more groups, and accelerate their learning.  With support from Ms Sara Moreira Silva, a Portuguese teacher with teaching experience in East Timor and Moroto district in northeastern Uganda, we have launched our assessment with the groups who have expressed interest in using their group as a tool to empower themselves through education.  The positive response and enthusiasm of the groups is over-whelming.  They want to begin today, and have ambitious plans to build permanent structures so that during the rainy season their classes won’t be interrupted.  And of course everyone wants a school uniform so they feel involved.  We love their enthusiasm!

We will continue our approach of 2013 to train Education Tutors from within each group, to make the activity self-sustaining and self-directed.  GRG will provide training to these tutors to ensure they have the tools they need to build a curriculum that answers their group’s needs, and skills in lesson planning.  We were surprised to find that many GRG groups requested to learn English, as our original plan was to focus our project in the local language, Luo.  However many of the group members said that lacking English is holding them back from improving their businesses, especially those who travel to other districts to buy the  foodstuffs, 2nd hand clothing or other products.   Each group will again be provided with notebooks, pens, black board and chalk, and some basic textbooks that will be especially important in moving the English classes forward in a logical and consistent manner.  At the end of 2015 our current 21 groups will graduate from GRG to stand independently, thus FAL offers an opportunity to push our groups (gently) towards committing their own resources towards their collective development goals.

Stay tuned for further updates and to read letters written by our students to follow the success that FAL is bringing to our groups!

 

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