Zambia is a country that has long struggled with adult education. Culture, work, family life, and financial stability are just a few of the barriers faced by Zambians in their access to further education. The Happy Africa Foundation, joined with our partners African Impact, is leading the change in Livingstone.
With just over 60% of the population being able to read and write English, even more shockingly closer to 50% for females, Zambia has a clear adult literacy deficiency. This can attribute to other socio-economic issues such as high unemployment, financial insecurity, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Adult Literacy courses in Livingstone are run four days a week within local communities. The courses have been well attended with a majority of the students being female. The Happy Africa Foundation has provided the resources for the classes such as the Happy Readers books which provide a basis for entry to adult literacy. Our partners at African Impact have also provided volunteer and staff assistance to teach and support the adult literacy classes.
Students are split into classes based on their level of literacy. The very basic are learning to read simple sentences, intermediate are writing short sentences and paragraphs, where the more advanced are learning skills they can apply to their everyday life such as letter writing and job application. The course is aimed to cater to people at all levels of literacy.
A key aspect of the course was training potential mentors within the community who could deliver and support classes. The Happy Africa Foundation was also involved in World Literacy Day celebrations in Livingstone further promoting the benefits of adult literacy amongst the wider community.
One of our locations for adult literacy is Linda Farm. The farm is home to people with a disability or who are highly vulnerable and rely on farming activities for income generation. Linda Farm was the location for the Happy Africa Foundation’s Beyond the Roots Day where a greenhouse was built out of recycled plastic bottles to assist with vegetable cultivation. Adult literacy further ties in with our push towards ownership and sustainability of the farm management at Linda Farm.
Community leader Thomas couldn’t contain his excitement about the course suggesting, “Adult literacy has changed the atmosphere around Linda Farm. There is genuine excitement and hope surrounding the opportunities the course creates. People now have something to look forward to and the Happy Africa Foundation’s work with us has promoted a positive attitude towards our overall farming activities”.
Adult literacy resources are funded through our Community Development Fund which aims to assist sustainable projects that have a positive effect on the wider community. Coming into rainy season farming activities are at their busiest. When asked whether the class would like to take a break to allow them to complete their farm work, the entire community overwhelmingly voted for the classes to continue.