Handbook for Literacy and Non-Formal Education Facilitators in Africa

As a backdrop to its objectives this paper points to the persistence of illiteracy as a major constraint for development in Africa. A rapid scaling up of literacy programmes, particularly for youth and adults, cannot be envisaged without addressing the lack of qualified personnel, well-defined training programmes as well as specialised institutional framework for non-formal education (NFE). It is within this context that the two regional workshops on “Capacity Building of Literacy and NFE Facilitators” were jointly organised in Africa by UNESCO and ISESCO. The first workshop was held from 27 September to 1 October 2004 in Dakar, Senegal, followed by the Bamako Workshop, organised from 25 to 29 July 2005, in Mali. The purpose of these regional consultations was to develop a common training framework to reinforce and accelerate national capacity building efforts for carrying out quality literacy programmes in a sustainable manner.

This handbook aims to be a first step towards developing a holistic regional resource package for capacity building of non-formal education (NFE) personnel in Africa. It is designed for the facilitators to use as a basic guide for responding to the specific needs of the learners and promoting, accordingly, knowledge, skills and attitudes in reading, writing and numeracy. The authors advise that it is important to understand that this Handbook is not meant to be used in isolation, but rather in support of existing national training policies and programmes. It should therefore be complemented by additional materials and tools produced locally and nationally, covering various specific topics that are relevant to the learners’ lives and environment. The Handbook is also intended for governmental entities responsible for literacy and NFE and which are expected to adapt it in accordance with the local contexts and needs and also to integrate it into their national training programmes. They are encouraged to share it with NFE providers and practitioners to help support effective literacy programmes on a large scale.

The main objective of this Handbook is to build the capacities of facilitators and other literacy and non-formal education personnel to promote learning and development at the community level. It aims at developing their skills and knowledge in literacy training, while sensitising them to issues that are at the very heart of adult literacy and education in Africa. In this regard, each of the seven modules of the Handbook addresses an essential theme in the context of literacy and non-formal education in Africa:

  • Module 1: Community Sensitisation and Mobilisation for Development
  • Module 2: Identifying the Needs of the Learners
  • Module 3: Organisation, Running and Management of a Community-based Learning Centre (CBLC)
  • Module 4: Facilitating Adult Learning
  • Module 5: Assessment of Learning Achievement
  • Module 6: Capacity Building for Sustainability
  • Module 7: Specific Themes

The first six modules cover themes relating to knowledge and skills. The seventh module addresses the need for facilitators to enhance the life skills of their learners and to help them develop positive attitudes with regard to their environment. Each module is divided into several sections, at the end of which there is an exercise to help check the reader’s understanding. Pages have been provided at the end of this Handbook for writing the answers, and can also be used for taking personal notes. To increase the efficiency of this Handbook, it is strongly advised to adapt it to the local needs and contexts of its beneficiaries. To this effect, some suggestions have been given in the annex to help develop the local version.

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