Assistant to Dr. Denis Mukwege, Panzi Hospital; Professor Emerita in Pulmonary Medicine, Umeå University
It is in DR Congo that I met Hélène Boëthius and became aware of ALEF's unique method for adult education. I had the privilege to meet both participants and group leaders, and I was impressed by the multifaceted way of learning, empowerment and poverty reduction that ALEF's method involves.
As the local organizations themselves choose topics to be included in the learning process, participants learn concepts related to these subject areas, eg. women's rights, human rights, health-related issues, hygiene, food supply, child rearing, participation and responsibility in the local community, etc.
The participants themselves have confirmed to me that this method for learning has made a huge difference in their lives.
CLIVE KA LUN LEE
Founder of Phoenix Foundation; specialist in social entrepreneurship; former CEO of the world's largest award for education; EMBA Global Asia, joint program for Columbia Business School, London Business School and University of Hong Kong Business School
ALEF has a vision to equip local NGOs with their unique approach to learning, in order to create a global movement for making young and adult people literate. While many costly educational methods are hard to apply in teaching literacy in poor countries, ALEF has made extraordinary strides in successfully transforming the lives of participants within a few months. Adults who have participated in ALEF's program come out of the shadows and shame of being illiterate, and enjoy learning in a fun, engaging and value-based way, created in cooperation with local organizations focused on life and social issues.
Writer and journalist, founder of MeSheWe, former employed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation in Bangladesh
It was online that I first noticed ALEF's work, and how they consistently and with great knowledge publish stories about literacy, and often raise literacy as a human rights issue. I began to see the clear link between poverty reduction, human rights and literacy that I was not aware of before, and which many who are active in aid tend to miss. As a debater in global poverty issues, I have thereby started 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 communities and on individuals where they work. ALEF's work in communities in Africa seems to follow all the recommended practices that exist, and they know and respect the people and communities in which they work.
Vice President of Joint Help for Kurdistan; High school teacher in English and history
I have been following ALEF's work for some time, and recently had the opportunity to observe their unique adult empowerment method during a three-week workshop with ALEF in Adama, Ethiopia. My work with 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 suited to meet this important need for several reasons:
Focus on the whole community. Literacy is not only considered as an individual skill, but a collective resource, a tool that strengthens families and communities.
Respect for the needs of adult participants: Adults in marginal societies have a great responsibility. To be motivated, they must feel that they are learning quickly, that the skills are meaningful and can be put to use immediately in their everyday lives.
Takes empowerment seriously. ALEF's attitude is radical and fundamental: "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 manuals, clear lesson plans and support / follow-up system make it easy to train and recruit group leaders.
Sustainability. ALEF's strategy is to train local partners to maintain empowerment group programs through intensive training and early stage guidance. They are not dependent on ALEF's long-term support.