Quotes on ALEF

ELLINOR ÄDELROTH
Assistant to Dr. Denis Mukwege, Panzi Hospital; Professor Emeritus of Pulmonary Medicine, Umeå University

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It was in DR Congo that I met Hélène Boëthius and got to know ALEF's unique method for adult education. I had the privilege of meeting both participants and group leaders, and I was impressed by the multifaceted way of learning, empowerment and poverty reduction that ALEF's method entails.  

 

When the local organizations themselves choose subjects that are to be included in the learning process, they also learn concepts related to these subject areas, e.g. women's rights, human rights, health-related topics, hygiene, food security, child rearing, participation and responsibility in the local community, etc.  

 

The participants themselves have confirmed to me that this learning method has made a huge difference in their lives.

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CLIVE KA LUN LEE
Founder of the Phoenix Foundation; specialist in social entrepreneurship; former CEO of the world's largest award for education; EMBA Global Asia, joint program of Columbia Business School, London Business School and University of Hong Kong Business School

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ALEF has a vision with its unique pedagogy to equip local NGOs to create a global movement to empower young and adult illiterates. While many costly pedagogical methods cannot be applied to the teaching of illiterates in poor countries, ALEF has made extraordinary progress in successfully transforming participants' lives within a few months. Adults who have undergone ALEF's program go out of the shadows and shame of being illiterate, and enjoy learning in a fun, engaging and value-based way, created together with local organizations with a focus on life, social issues and societal issues.

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HELENA THORFINN
Author and journalist, founder of MeSheWe, former Sida employee in Bangladesh

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It was online that I first noticed ALEF's work, and how they consistently and with great knowledge publish stories about literacy, and often highlight literacy as a human rights issue. I began to see the clear link between poverty reduction, human rights and literacy, which I was not aware of before, and which many aid workers tend to miss. As a debater on global poverty issues, I have thereby begun to raise these issues myself when I talk about methods and ways of working with people living in poverty.

 

I am impressed by the enormous impact that ALEF's presence has on the communities and individuals where they work. ALEF's work in communities in Africa seems to follow all the recommended approaches that exist, and they seem to know and respect the people and communities in which they work.

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ADAM BOTT
Vice President of Joint Help for Kurdistan; High school teacher of English and history

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I have been following ALEF's work for some time, and recently had the opportunity to observe their unique “empowerment group method” for adult education during a three-week seminar with ALEF in Adama, Ethiopia. My work with the JHK to support displaced minorities in Iraq and Syria has been a constant reminder of the importance of basic adult education for the poor and marginalized. I believe that ALEF's "empowerment group method" is particularly suitable for meeting this important need for several reasons:

  • Focus on the whole society. Literacy is not only seen as an individual skill but as a collective resource, a tool that strengthens families and communities.

  • Respect for the needs of adult participants: Adults in marginalized communities have a great responsibility. To be motivated, they must feel that they learn quickly, that the skills are meaningful and can be used immediately in their everyday life.

  • Takes empowerment seriously. ALEF's attitude is radical and principled: "we never tell people what to think". The goal is to help participants use their knowledge, experience and expertise.

  • Sensitivity to local situations. ALEF develops unique teaching materials based on linguistic analysis of the target language and mapping of the living environment in the recipient community.

  • Scalability. The ALEF method makes it possible to plan and develop a new project quickly. The detailed handbooks, clear lesson plans and support / follow-up systems make it easy to train and recruit group leaders.

  • Sustainability. ALEF's strategy is to, through intensive training and guidance in the early stages, equip local partners to maintain empowerment group programs themselves. They are not dependent on ALEF's long-term support.

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