Children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.”
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
CODE’s literacy programs are designed to respond directly to the urgent global need for qualified teachers, as well as the need to equip teachers with culturally-relevant children’s books and learning materials that will help nurture the development of reading and writing skills in young students.
Partnership lies at the heart of CODE’s approach to development. This means that we design and implement programs in close partnership with local-based civil society organizations in Africa, which we select on the basis of their expertise, local recognition and credibility, management capacities and their openness to innovation. Their depth of knowledge of local issues and long history of accompanying the processes of local development and being integrated into the daily life of the communities are essential conditions for the successful implementation of our literacy programs and their sustainability.
CODE’s approach to building literacy focuses on two inter-related activities: improving teaching effectiveness through teacher training and support for the production and provision of high quality reading materials. We aim to deliver high quality programming at a grassroots level, while seeking opportunities to sustain and scale impact to deliver regional or national-level change.
A focus on professional development for educators to improve teaching quality
The single most effective way to improve children’s literacy is to improve the quality of teaching. We provide early grade teachers and librarians with professional training through intensive workshops so that they can develop the competencies required to nurture classrooms of young readers and learners.
The student-focused strategies and techniques learned at workshops are reinforced through in-class mentorship, which allows teachers to effectively translate new skills into their classrooms. We also provide training for teachers and librarians on how to manage small libraries and to encourage their use as a way to foster the love of independent reading.
Books and Learning Materials
Interesting books, relevant to the readers, and written in languages the readers understand
Literacy has the power to transport us to another world. But only when it meets us exactly where we are first. This belief is at the core of our CODE literacy programming. We believe all children learn best when they have access to reading material that is relatable, interesting, and easy to understand.
We enlist writers, illustrators, and editors who volunteer to conduct workshops and to mentor local authors and artists on the production of children’s books in over 20 local languages.
We stack library and school shelves with colorful and engaging children’s books that are appropriate for different reading levels, written in languages that children understand, and that reflect their local realities. In many smaller communities in Africa, students will never have seen children’s books like this before, or any books at all. We also take special care to provide teachers with instructional materials to guide their use of these books in their classrooms.
Sustaining and Scaling
Ensuring that impact stands the test of time
CODE’s experience throughout Africa incontrovertibly proves that sustained improvements are only possible through long-term, integrated approaches focused on building trust and partnerships, supported by our field-tested and proven methodologies. To deliver lasting results, we design programs within the framework of national education strategies; we obtain the endorsement of ministries of education; and, engage a wide range of community and government stakeholders.
We aim for our programs to have an immediate positive impact on students and teachers, while at the same time working toward long-term systemic change. By working with institutional funders and governments we scale-up literacy initiatives to deliver national-level impact.