Conor OBEIRNE

CEO/Director - Happy Readers Zimbabwe

Conor OBEIRNE

CEO/Director - Happy Readers Zimbabwe

Biography

“Conor Obeirne (B.Bus.Sci(Hons), MBA) is co-founder of Happy Readers, in Zimbabwe and has implemented over 50 early grade reading projects in southern Africa, reaching over 1m children in 1000 schools.
Conor has trained over 5000 teachers, and has presented on literacy topics at the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) in Vancouver, Atlanta and Mexico City from 2015 to 2017.”

Improving Girls’ Literacy in southern Africa – changing lives, saving lives and uplifting the community – real life observations and outcomes.

We will present key findings from two separate independent assessments by doctoral-level education professionals on the quantitative and qualitative impacts of the Happy Readers programme on literacy and girls education.
* Happy Readers Literacy Scheme – quick overview
* Literacy Results – before and after, 3 countries, impact on girls reading
* Feedback from girls on the changes that improving their reading has had on them.
* Reading impacts on all aspects of a girl’s life – practical examples from our projects.

Educating a girl in Africa empowers her to change her life and escape from the cycle of repression and inequality arising from still-prevalent societal and cultural attitudes which place limited value on girls education, economic participation and independence.

In the context of widespread poverty this is exacerbated by poor reading at school which leads to poor educational outcomes, and too many young girls dropping out of school. A lack of literacy leads to lack of information which leads to lack of choice and self-confidence, imprisoning them on a path of young marriage and/or young motherhood, menial work, poor health, and shortened lives.
Education requires literacy and good reading ability to begin to take root. Illiterate young mothers are trapped in a life of poverty and struggle to help their own children to read, perpetuating the cycle unto the next generation.
Educating girls and young women uplifts a community and helps give them access to choices for better and longer lives.

Over the last 10 years Conor & Emma O’Beirne have worked to develop, provide and implement Happy Readers – an extremely effective literacy solution – to over 1000 rural primary schools in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, reaching over 1million children and training over 5000 teachers. Furthermore our results show that it is stunningly effective in dramatically improving literacy, reaching not just a few but the majority of girls and lifting them into literacy and a love of reading.

The presentation will tell our story, and show some of the measured improvements we have seen in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, as well as outlining how our literacy intervention helps girls to not only learn to read, but also address many of the issues they face in rural southern Africa, overcome barriers to their education and life fulfilment, and change their lives.