TAKING ON OWNERSHIP OF THE LITERACY SESSION BY COMMUNITY DWELLERS
In Foya District, Lofa County, Rights and Rice Foundation has implemented two years of functional adult literacy program in twenty communities with women who did not have any formal education, participating in the program.
In April 2012, a team of field staffs from Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) visited five of the project communities of Foya District as means of making follow up on community initiatives for sustainability measures of the program. The team encountered a literacy session in Bakamba during the evening hours. This evening session had fifteen women, six of which are beneficiaries of the first literacy project while nine are new to the session. According to the Volunteer Facilitator, Mr. Augustine Tamba, the session was established in February 2012 supported by the entire community to continue the initiatives to help other women who did not have the opportunity to be a part of the first nine months project.
The evening session lasted for one day and ran for one hour thirty minutes day, compared to the regular two hours minimum a day for three days a week. This according to the Chair lady of the community, Ma Finda Saah, is due to the lack of kerosene, lighting system and stipend for the facilitator. This session is completely supported by the community. There are no pre-printed text books for the learners but the lessons suggested by the learners, were based on what they want to learn and practice that could be applied immediately to their life situations. Some of these lessons suggested by learners included the correct spelling for the names of their children, husbands' full name, community name, names of service providers and service delivery centers, names of vegetables produced household cooking utensils, two to three place multiplications, and two place addition and so on. These lessons are drawn from general discussions during the sessions about learners' domestic issues, farming activities and daily life situation.
One recommendation from the session was to help the volunteer facilitator with additional life skills training that would improve his skills and make the sessions more interesting for learners as well as the facilitator himself. Moreover, the learners stressed the need for assistance from donors in materials such as lamps and kerosene, to do the entire course.
The RRF team thanked the entire community especially the volunteer facilitator and the learning community for the initiatives of starting their own literacy sessions. The Team encouraged the community to continue their support for the literacy learners.
The significance of this community session is that it underlines the eagerness of the residents, women in particular, to get exposed to education. Most women historically in Liberia have been left far behind in education due primarily to cultural reasons which favored education of the boy child, while the girl child remained with the mother at home