Functional Adult Literacy


Functional Adult Literacy Class

A more formal Functional Adult Literacy class in Masindi

Uganda has one of the worst illiteracy rates in the world - a profound problem given the strong correlation of illiteracy to abject poverty.

This is especially relevant for women – only 57.7% of women are literate in Uganda compared to 99% in the UK. The inability to read and write restricts women’s access to information and services: they cannot vote without support, read medical instructions for themselves, or understand if they are being cheated.

Literacy skills can thus empower women to critically engage with issues that affect their lives. Furthermore it often enhances women’s self-esteem, enables them to understand their rights, take part in community decision making, and begin income-generating activities in order to provide for their families.

What you can do

- It costs just £45 per adult to cover the costs of the first module and learn to read.

- The newest FAL programme will cost £2000 in total to set up.

- We also need to raise funds to support the costs of running these 20 new groups, costing £415 for all the materials needed to run one FAL group.

Visit our donations or fundraising pages to see how you can help




As Clara, a student visitor to Uganda, commented:

“I discovered that women’s literacy groups were learning how to keep chickens, not recite the alphabet”.

Afrinspire has supported 61 literacy groups in 4 districts across Uganda.

The groups represent 1200 homesteads and a population of 8000.

FAL training material is available in local languages, but it generally lies unused on the bookshelves of the District Councils who lack the means or influence to implement it (the typical outcome of many big aid initiatives). The special ingredient of our FAL programme is the indigenous leaders who have taken the initiative to mobilise people and communities.

Value for money: The basic course typically costs £1000 per year. With 11 to 20 leaders, groups support 200 to 400 learners who have households with family populations of at least 5. So, 1000 to 2000 people are impacted per year for £1000, or 50p to £1 per person, with the standard of living rising for all.

The Training Material

Booklets in local language with pictures have as many as 28 lessons in them.  Each lesson has some literacy learning and a practical exercise which all group members will do before the group moves onto the next lesson. For example:

  • Construct a pit latrine at home instead of going in the bush
  • Construct a washing area, and use it, to encourage hygiene
  • Every house member to have a mat to sleep on instead of the ground
  • Construct a draining rack for washed dishes to avoid contamination
  • Begin to keep poultry around the home - simple economics to feed oneself
  • Construct a poultry basket to avoid loss of small chickens to wild beasts
  • Plant banana trees in neat rows to improve yield and food supply
  • Go shopping in the market and use numbers to avoid being cheated by literates
  • Begin saving money in a group box to build up a saving/loan fund

We are currently fundraising to extend the FAL programme to a fifth area. We need to train 20 group leaders to reach 400 households, ultimately providing skills to lift their families out of extreme poverty and become self-sufficient. Last year, Afrinspire provided £5000 to keep this programme running. It is highly scalable and extendable according to more funds becoming available.