Innovative literacy program uses mobile phones

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First mobile literacy course of 2013 started

posted May 21, 2013 by Sakena Yacoobi

We at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank all of our donors for a very successful year so far.

We are educating more Afghans than ever before, and we are bringing health care and other services to them at an unprecedented rate. Our organization grows sustainably and steadily, and none of this could have been possible without your support.

We launched our first mobile literacy course for 2013 for 35 females in one of our learning centers in March. We are excited to be able to offer this accelerated learning class to another group of students. We anticipate that the results of this course will be as positive as the pilot program was last year.

Older girls and women are becoming literate and are expanding their minds. A girl who was involved in the mobile literacy program last year described her experiences:

“First I want to write that I am happy that I can read and write at the end of the class. This is a big success for me. Now I feel a big change came in my life during the last four months and I want to list these changes: Before four months I couldn’t read the literacy books, newspapers, and AIL magazines. Now I am able to read them. Before the mobile literacy class I didn’t know how to use a phone or how to write a message. Now I have self-confidence and I decided to go to the regular school next year. Before this class I didn’t have books and magazines in my house, and now I have three books and eleven magazines and I keep them in a small library. This shows that I am one of the eager students of this class. Now I am full of love for knowledge.”

We hope to hear many more of these kinds of stories in the coming months. Thanks to your donations, you have made this a possibility. Thank you!

  • Education & training
  • Innovation
  • Technology

Using phones and texting to accelerate literacy for Afghan girls and women.

Why we care: The literacy rate of Afghan women is 12.6%, one of the lowest in the world.

How we're solving this: Launching an innovative, 5-month mobile literacy program for women and adolescent girls in learning centers in Herat Province.

The literacy rate of Afghan women is one of the lowest in the world, 12.6%. With this in mind, the Afghan Institute of Learning, an Afghan women’s non-governmental organization founded in 1995 by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, is always searching for new ways to teach women and girls to read - and to teach them quickly. 

In 2011, Afghan Institute of Learning launched an innovative, 5-month mobile literacy program for women and adolescent girls in two learning centers in Herat Province. In the first month, the students learned the Dari alphabet. The students were then given a cell phone and taught to use it. The teachers texted questions to the girls, who were to text back the answers in addition to writing them down in a notebook.

The phones were used to reinforce everything the girls were learning in class using the regular literacy textbooks, while giving them an incentive to practice reading and writing on their own. Completion of one level of Afghan Institute of Learning’s literacy course generally takes about nine months, but using the new technology to reinforce the coursework, 83% of the women were able to test into the third level of literacy courses after only five months. 

Afghan Institute of Learning has had many requests for the class and is looking to expand this successful program. One class costs $7,962 or $265 per student.  We invite you to invest in accelerating the rate at which 30 Afghan women and girls learn to read and write by donating to this project.

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