Written by Ben Robinson

I am going to be in Ethiopia for almost five months, and my focus is in two main areas – assisting in monitoring and evaluating the impact of our Libraries and Literacy Project and producing a feasibility study for our proposed Girls Education project. To a large extent this is a continuation of the work started by our former volunteer Alastair Cockburn, who like me was sponsored by Integrate Hands.

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In Bishoftu the first step was to visit schools to conduct EGRA (Early Grade Reading Assessment) tests, and to compare the data to the baseline information gathered by Alastair in these schools before the project began. The initial results showed that literacy levels had improved more since October in schools where the project has been carried out, in comparison to our control school. However, the fact that students still had room to improve, particularly in ‘The Sounds of English’, suggests that effective refresher training will be key to the success of the project.

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Possible reasons for the sporadic knowledge of the students in this area may have a couple of possible explanations. It may be that the teachers with time have started to neglect certain aspects of the training they were given, or it may simply be that the students examined may not be taught by the trained teachers. Thus, refresher training will not simply seek to reiterate the training to already train teachers, but ask those teachers to train other members of staff who did not received the initial training. With some luck this should help embed the Sounds of English and Reading Training across the school and produce some outstanding results.

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I am now heading to Gondar to carry out similar activities in our Northern Schools for three weeks before returning to Bishoftu for further follow-up on both projects.

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