What we achieved
Although Malawi has free universal primary education, many children in disadvantaged rural districts are not learning basic literacy skills at school due to large class sizes and insufficient resources.
This issue is compounded by the fact that these children typically live in a literacy-poor environment, with illiterate parents and community members and little access to reading materials. The same is true for marginalised communities in rural Ethiopia and is particularly problematic amongst young girls.
Aims and objectives
These projects in Malawi and Ethiopia aimed to address the low literacy achievement of many primary school children, while also tackling the lack of confidence of parents and community members in their ability to provide support to these children.
- Improving reading skills and attainment of early primary learners
- Encouraging parental and community support for young children’s literacy skills
- Increasing parental and community capacity to support school improvement
In Ethiopia, there was a specific focus on improving literacy in primary school aged girls in four woredas (local districts) of rural Wolaita, as well as encouraging them to stay in school for longer and achieve better results.
How we got there
We established after-school reading clubs in 60 schools, as well as providing training and support to reading club mentors who were local high school graduates. This was in addition to running Adult Literacy Centres associated with selected project schools. We sourced and distributed early grade reading books in Chichewa (local language) and held annual reading fairs to generate community excitement around reading.
Our work focused on improving education through raising community awareness and supporting the education system through building processes and capacity development. This was in addition to gender-responsive teacher training, leadership training, HIV/AIDS training, the inclusion of female role models and self-esteem training for club coordinators.