The Oromia region
The Oromi region in Ethiopia is the largest of the country's regions. 38 million people live here. Of these, 33.5 million speak the language of oromo. At least 9 million youth and adults among them are illiterate. The region is very varied, with both fertile plains, mountains and the barren Rift Valley, where the groundwater is poisoned with fluoride, which slowly destroys people's bones and teeth. Poverty is widespread, and the region has been hit by famine several times. In the winter of 2020, large swarms of grasshoppers appeared, damaging the crops and causing food shortages. Political unrest has also caused suffering among the local population.
At the end of 2018, ALEF got in touch with several universities and NGOs in the Oromia Province as well as with the Oromia Education Bureau (OEB), the region's government education authority. They have had the same adult education materials for many years, and are aware that it has major flaws. Now they want something new that works better.
In May 2019, ALEF conducted two short introductory courses in ALEF's methodology at two different locations for OEB's staff and for adult education experts from several universities. A collaboration agreement was signed between OEB and ALEF to prepare material for a first year course at Afan Oromo.
In September, a two-week preparatory seminar was held. During two seminars in December and January 2020, material was completed for a first year of reading and writing at afan oromo. OEB will re-edit parts of the materials to better suit their curriculum restrictions. The OEB's ambition is for the courses to be implemented in all the approximately 11,000 groups that are currently in their adult education programs. In the long term, they want millions to learn to read and write with the help of the new teaching materials.
ALEF will initiate collaboration with two local NGOs that also participated in the production of materials. With them, we can use the materials as they were produced in the workshops.