Founder of ALEF. 1981-95 language development and adult literacy in Togo. Then evaluations, trainings, developing literacy materials in Central America, Niger and Guinea with Swedish NGOs. Author of “Literacy on Four Legs 2008.” Since 2010 running ALEF. Currently involved in creating literacy materials in Oromo, Ethiopia in cooperation with Ethiopian Government.
Empowerment of women in Uganda trough ALEF’s method for adult literacy
Since 2013, an adult literacy program based on ALEF’s “Empowerment Group” method has been running in the Wakiso district in Uganda. The results in terms of changed lives and communities are stunning. The paper presents some examples, and also show how the approach used affects the outcome in terms of real life changes.
The ALEF method builds on using only natural text in the mother tongue for first literacy learning. Groups of participants are presented with a short text describing a real life situation with which they are familiar. From the text, they learn a new letter. They then discuss the topic presented, and dictate a short text about what they have discussed, which the group leader writes on the blackboard. The text is used for learning practice and for reinforcing learning of the new letter. The explicit goal is that learners should be able to go home from every group session and practise something which they have discussed in daily life. This can be simple, like washing hands before eating, or more complex, like resolving conflict within the family, talking to adolescents about sexuality, or speaking up against human rights abuses on the local level. Starting saving money together and starting small businesses is also encouraged. Over the years, ALEF’s partner organisation has been reporting scores of examples of how people have affected radical change in their lives and in their income levels. A study done by two Swedish Medical students also shows significant change in behaviour, attitudes and health practises. We believe that the outcome in terms of life changes is due to the specific method used, which involves discussion and analysis of one’s life situation and making decisions together as a group.