Functional Adult Literacy for Older Persons

In Uganda 52% of older persons have never attained formal Education. Of this total, 70% are female while 32% are male. 80% of the female older persons are illiterate compared to 41% of the male (UNHS report, 2009/2010). These statistics clearly indicate the gap older persons have had in accessing education in Uganda, and justifies the need for the development of programs that focus on giving older persons a fighting chance. Functional adult literacy gives older persons the lifelong learning they require to be able to contribute positively to their lives and to their country. Older persons have life long experiences that they need to translate into businesses, lessons to pass on, traditions to carry forward and this can only be done if they are literate.
HENU conducts adult literacy training program in order to empower older persons to take charge of and transform their own lives, using literacy and basic mathematics as well as any other appropriate strategies like simple book keeping skills for small business owners. The basic skills are learnt in a contextualized way, starting from the needs and circumstances of the learner, and aiming at practical application.

The adult literacy class is non-formal as, opposed to school which is in a formal setting. The objective is to learn to handle every-day life successfully, improving family economy, health, ability to live in harmony together, gaining access to decision processes in the community and understanding their human rights. The literacy trainings are conducted by a trained group of coaches from Health Nest Uganda who have also developed a manual in Adult Literacy.

What have we achieved?

The five Coaches from HENU identified 10 project facilitators who are mainly community volunteers in the older persons groups we work with. The community volunteers were trained on how to use the Adult Literacy Training Manual to train older persons in their groups and also engage younger people for an intergenerational approach that is sustainable in the long term. The community volunteers were selected from older persons groups we work with that include: Kabaale, Kitubulu, Katabi, Bugonga, Kiwafu, Kigungu, Lyamutundwe, Bunono, Lunnyo and Nakiwogo.