May 22, 2023
LPGM Launches Women's Literacy Program in Central Africa
Located in the heart of Africa, the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) faces a multitude of challenges that have left a significant portion of its population living in poverty.
One of the main challenges is political instability, with multiple coups and ongoing violence. This instability has led to a breakdown in the rule of law, a lack of access to basic services, and significant displacement of populations.
As a result, poverty is widespread, with over 60% of the population living on less than $2.15 per day. [source] The lack of infrastructure and services makes it challenging for people to meet their basic needs, and the ongoing instability has made it difficult for the government and aid agencies to provide support. Rural areas lack access to education due to persistent insecurity. At the same time, violations of human rights – especially against women and girls – has increased.
Illiteracy is another significant challenge in C.A.R., with only about a quarter of adult women able to read and write. This lack of literacy is a barrier to accessing information and participating in decision-making processes. It also makes it difficult for people to obtain formal employment and to fully engage in the economy.
50% more likely to live past the age of five if her mother can read.
The Power of Literacy
The lack of literacy also perpetuates a cycle of poverty, as parents who are illiterate are less likely to be able to support their children's education, and thus their children are more likely to remain illiterate as well.
Functional literacy, however, is recognized as a major force in the fight against poverty. It gives people the opportunity to participate in the economic and social life of their community.
Addressing illiteracy is crucial for the development of the country and improving the quality of life for its citizens. However, achieving this will require significant investments in education and literacy programs, as well as addressing the root causes of poverty and political instability in the country.
Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry (LPGM)—a pan-Lutheran organization that provides access to quality education for people at the margins—is partnering with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic (ELC-CAR) to launch a women’s literacy program, improving the living conditions of vulnerable girls and women while promoting gender and women’s rights.
Working alongside the social work arm of the ELC-CAR (OSEEL), LPGM will provide the funds to establish literacy and post-literacy program. OSEEL has a long history of peacebuilding, education, and economic empowerment in western C.A.R. LPGM and OSEEL worked together from 2012-2018 to establish Village Savings & Loan associations that continue to this day, giving women entrepreneurs the financial support they need to thrive.
Three cities that have benefited from LPGM’s village savings and loan program in the past will be the pilots, namely: Bouar, Gallo and Cantonnier. 80 vulnerable women and girls have expressed the desire to read and write throughout these cities to begin the pilot program, which could expand in future years.
In the three targeted communities, three literacy teachers will be identified and trained by a national expert who works with the Directorate Literacy in Non-Formal Basic Education of the Ministry of National Education.
The church will give functional literacy classes to 80 women and girls in one year. These students will receive a minimum of 170 hours of lessons in Sango and French.
Courses will be based on already existing technical materials and resources such as the method, the “Literacy Monitor’s Guide,” the Awareness Talk Manual, the Reading Writing Manual, the Written Numeracy Manual and the adapted post-literacy manuals.
Additionally, as literacy is taught, so are themes relevant to improving living conditions of families, neighborhoods, and communities, such as:
- Public health
- Economic development
- Sexually transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS
- Management of literacy committees
- Women’s rights Our Expected Result
As a result of the literacy program, women will be able to read, women’s rights will be popularized, and harmful practices regarding women’s activities will be reduced. Women will better access better economic opportunities through income-generating activities, and in the process recover their human dignity.
Simply put, as women and girls are taught to read and write, they will have a better chance at rising out of poverty and will teach their children, future children, and communities. Invest in a woman’s education, and everyone around her will also benefit.
Our Hope for the Future
While the initial plan spans 12 months and involves 80 beneficiaries, the project has a renewable duration and could extend to other cities, having major ripple effects across the CAR. This will depend upon sustained financial support and prayers from partners like you.