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Literacy training in the “Récasé” project

During the first phase of the Récasé project in Rwanda, a diagnosis of the farmers’ groups supported by the project (the grassroots community organisations, or OCBs) was carried out. This revealed that over 40.6% of the members of these groups were illiterate. For this reason, it was planned in the second phase of the project to identify volunteer farmer trainers to run functional literacy classes in Kinyarwanda for the illiterate members of these groups.

This is therefore a new feature of the Récasé project, which has been inspired by the practices of other members of the Train to Transform collective through peer exchange sessions on the subject of literacy. You can find a summary of these sessions by clicking on the article in the opposite column:

Why this literacy training?

The aim is to train farmers to encourage and improve the participation of non-literate people in community and civic life within their groups, as they often do not feel they have the right to speak out and do not have the skills required to take on positions of greater responsibility. Indeed, non-literate people can only apply for the position of advisor in an OCB, while for the positions of secretary, president or treasurer, it is essential to be able to read and write. This acts as a brake on democratic life within OCBs, as these posts remain occupied by the same people for a long time and remain inaccessible to some of the members of these groups. More generally, the learners said that they were motivated to take part in these literacy classes for :

  1. Being able to read signs
  2. Find your way around services at the health centre
  3. Help children with their homework
  4. Help with tontines
  5. Participate in the life of the group by holding a position of responsibility (secretary, treasurer, etc.)
  6. Learn to count and manage an income-generating activity, etc.


Three outreach workers from the Récasé project (Fifi, Cyridion and Emmanuel) also testify to the importance of literacy in the OCB context:

When [OCB] members can read and write, during elections there is a better alternation in the committees. These people can now join the committees.

It reinforces their knowledge. They can read newspapers, books, which contain visible words.

Knowing how to read and write is very important, especially in tontines, so that you can calculate your shares. It also helps to combat shyness. They can read signs and notices.

Peer exchange sessions with member organizations of the “Train to Transform” collective enabled the Récasé team to identify the need to rely on people who already had teaching experience. 24 farmer trainers were therefore selected for the 8 project zones and took part in a two-day refresher course to familiarize themselves with the literacy program and design a training sequence. In addition to their experience in literacy, these trainers are themselves farmers or stockbreeders, who are therefore familiar with the situation of the participants in the training courses.

Farmers with teaching experience

  • 14 women and 10 men
  • Aged between 29 and 64 years old
  • (average age : 53 years)

Learners profile

  • Learners aged between 21 and 81. Average age: around 48
  • Most farmers are members of GCOs or PEGs
  • First literacy course for the vast majority

How the class run classes

A functional literacy program in Kinyarwanda
The program followed by the Pafos is a Rwandan government program, which includes lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic. The program covers a wide range of topics, including :

  • Management
  • Health
  • Environmental protection
  • Community life
  • Citizenship

These themes correspond to the context of the OCBs, as well as to the other activities of the Recasé project. To follow this programme, the Récasé project has distributed a trainer’s booklet for each trainers, as well as booklets for the learners.

Two-hour sessions, twice a week
Each week, learners benefit from two two-hour afternoon classes. On average, each class has 25 participants. The sessions take place in a variety of venues, depending on availability in each area, such as school halls, church spaces and local authority offices.

To ensure that lessons run smoothly, the Récasé project has provided the trainers with a set of essential equipment, including pens, coloured chalk, a lesson preparation book, a call book, an apron and boots suitable for rainy conditions.

Difficulties for learners

Late arrivals and absences by learners affect the smooth running of classes. During the rainy season, learners have to work harder in their fields to avoid production losses. Journeys between the trainers’ homes and the classrooms vary, with some taking less than 30 minutes and others more than 1.5 hours. Despite these challenges, the trainers make regular visits to understand the reasons for late arrivals or absences.

The trainers also encounter difficulties due to the heterogeneous level of the learners, which requires personalised follow-up. Learners with difficulties are often the ones who are absent the most, and the trainers will often talk more with these learners and visit them at home to find solutions with them.

Generally speaking, the trainers maintain friendly relations with the learners and try to motivate them to attend classes. The best practices of the trainers can be consulted on the following page https://atelier.fdh.org/en/take-act..., which is also available on the Social Transformation Workshop.

A monitoring tool inspired by the practices of other members of the “Train to Transform” collective
Based on exchanges with UGPM, CONCEPT and APEF, class monitoring sheets have been drawn up. These sheets show the participation of the learners in the classes, as well as the courses that have been given, the successes and difficulties linked to school performance. This tool is structured as follows :

  • A list of learner attendance:
     The number of attendances and absences for each person, as well as the reason for absences
     Information about each learner, such as village, sector, ID number and year of birth
  • Questions about the month’s classes:
     News about school performance and achievements
     Classes of the month (which part of the curriculum was covered):
    * Reading and writing
    * Mathematics
    * Conversation
  • Overall school performance
     Achievements of the month
     Difficulties of the month
     Measures taken to improve school performance
Literacy training in the “Récasé” project
Literacy for empowerment and emancipation
Literacy for empowerment and emancipation
Author(s) : Adenya, Duhamic-Adri