Improving early reading



In Ethiopia and Kenya, IIRR has sponsored reading competitions and encouraged the reading habit among children. It has also trained and deployed teachers to previously unreached areas by formal education, providing pastoralist children access to quality basic education.

Selected language teachers in Ethiopia and Kenya were trained in early grade reading assessments and are helping the children read with better comprehension, a fundamental skill that will improve their overall learning performance.

Seven years into the Program, IIRR’s pastoral education program is achieving the goals of increasing enrollment, keeping pastoralist children in school, helping them transition from evening shepherd classes to regular primary and secondary schools, thus contributing to the overall educational goals of these eastern African governments.


Keeping girls in school

In the pastoral areas of southern Ethiopia and northern Uganda, where girls can’t attend schools because of social, cultural, and economic reasons, we implement our goats4girls initiative to re-enroll girls in school.

Each girl gets 2 mature female goats and the parents match one. Each beneficiary girl then pledges to pass on the two first-born kids to another girl selected by school and community. Girls sell some of their goats to buy needed supplies that enable them to continue with their education. So far, over 1,000 girls have enrolled in the program. Read more about goats4girls.


Pastoralist Education

Highlights of Achievements in Southern Oromia Ethiopia, 2014

  • 992 enrolled in preschool children (479 boys and 513 girls) exceeded preschool children enrollment targets by 103%.
  • In the higher grades, enrolled 14,032 primary school students – 6,577 boys and 7,455 girls
  • 89% increase in enrollment, 77% retention rates (10,840 students), and 93% transition rates
  • Increased number of preschool classrooms from 14 to 19 in two pastoral zones, bringing overall number of new schools to 36
  • 60 primary school English teachers (81% of teaching staff) trained in teaching reading, writing and comprehension
  • Over 8,400 supplementary reading materials for the school libraries; reprints of a colorful storybook, Mijun
  • Selected schools provided with 20 solar-powered Notebook laptop computers, teachers trained in their use.


Moving from Darkness to Light

Ethiopia’s Solar Lights for Pastoralists

Many pastoralist children are out of school for various reasons, but mainly because the majority tend cattle. IIRR employs an integrated approach for these children to access quality basic education.

Pastoralist education interventions encompass such activities as:

  • Continuous teacher education for teachers deployed in pastoralist areas
  • Awareness-raising and lobbying for community leadership
  • New classrooms, dormitories, libraries and reading shades in these areas
  • Early grade reading assessment
  • Provision of reading materials suited to the local context
  • Installation of solar lights and introduction of information technology and computers in schools
  • IIRR and partner, the Polish Center for International Aid, has installed solar lighting in 310 primary schools in 8 woredas or districts, of which 183 were installed in 2014
  • The solar lights are used for evening shepherd classes and for children to do their homework and for teaching integrated functional adult education classes
  • The solar energy in the schools also powers 20 laptops that have been given to 10 schools.

There is plan to light over 200 schools in 2015; after all, “education is the movement from darkness to light”.

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