FHI 360

Washington, DC/North Carolina   |   Non profit

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Project Name
Timawerenga! (We Can Read!)

Location Implemented
Malawi

Organization Website
http://www.fhi360.org/

Organization Type
Non profit



Challenge
There is a dearth of teaching and learning materials in mother tongue languages (Chichewa, Citumbuka, and Ciyawo) in Malawi.

Solution
Taking advantage of the nature of short, simple reading books with decodable texts (texts that have words that can be sounded out phonetically), Timawerenga! combines 150 stories written in mother tongue into a single, concise digest. Timawerenga! also provides participating schools with a simple, locally sourced kit of materials for teachers to hold workshops with parents, older siblings, and community members to make mini-books for student use. This enables the school community to create a set of stories for each child to read at home and resource materials that teachers can use in the classroom. The theory of change is that Timawerenga! materials will improve reading outcomes, help teachers gain concrete instructional strategies and materials, enable parents to support their child’s learning process, and facilitate development and implementation of appropriate instructional materials for early grade reading nationwide.

Project Reach
Two writer’s workshops were conducted to develop decodable digests in three local languages (Chichewa, Citumbuka, and Ciyawo). Over 300 decodable stories were produced by teachers and primary education advisers (PEAs) with technical assistance from local linguists and literacy specialists. Materials were piloted in select schools to gather feedback on how to improve them. Learning materials were finalized in the three languages including the teacher’s guide, the decodable digest, read-aloud stories previously developed for the USAID-funded Read Malawi with accompanying comprehension and vocabulary questions, and a facilitator’s guide to be used by the PEAs to train and support teachers. A workshop was conducted for 36 PEAs and district education managers (DEMs) from four districts on the five components of literacy, how to use decodable stories, and how to run community workshops. The PEAs then trained their teachers and head teachers from the selected 80 schools in the Timawerenga methodology just before the new school year.

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