The World Food Program launched a new project to increase the availability and quality of school meals for 150,000 student beneficiaries over the five year implementation period. The project is funded by the McGovern-Dole FY 2015 program of USDA.
WFP awarded AVSI a sub-grant to carry out literacy promotion activities in the project schools.
Project districts include Cavally Region, Bafing Region, Bagoue, Poro, and Tcholongo Region, and Bounkani and Gontougo Region.
In Ivory Coast, the high number of children that suffer from illiteracy and malnutrition negatively affects the country as a whole.
Although access to primary education (CP1) has improved markedly, it is still the case that one third of children who reach CP1 abandon their education before the end of primary school. Literacy skills in the early grades are known to be predictors of future academic success, but reliable data on early grade reading competencies are scarce.
Some key challenging factors include: the difficulty of access to schooling for girls and low-income populations, below level reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as high repetition and high drop out rates.
AVSI’s goal is to improve the quality of education received by children in the Ivory Coast through an integrated set of literacy promotion activities.
Together with the Ministry of Education (MENET), AVSI intends to review existing curricula and support the revision process currently underway, and to coordinate a collaborative effort to bring together pedagogical resources for reading instruction.
AVSI will guide the implementation of reading assessment of students in project schools to inform the program and to engage in a dialogue with MENET regarding standards for reading achievement by primary grade students.
AVSI will support MENET to properly train teachers in the reading curriculum and additional resources and will ensure that sufficient support mechanisms are put in place.
AVSI will focus on the involvement of the whole community, drawing from our experience which has shown that where families are involved, children participate more, learn more, and develop more completely.
In addition, AVSI will convey the importance of teacher-student relationships and the inclusion of social, cultural and recreational activities as important aspects in a child's education. These factors contribute to a fun and welcoming environment, which facilitates the emergence of affectionate relationships, that in turn emphasize an environment of learning and an establishment of reading as a habit and important skill.
Relying on local resources and innovation will help to promote locally owned responses and the participation of school directors, teachers, parents and communities.