For five years, Ethiopia Reads operated the ‘Old Sarum’ Kindergarten in the Mercato District of Addis Ababa, so named in honor of the couple from Salisbury, England, whose wedding donations paid for the founding of the school. The school served hundreds of children in its time with model early childhood education.
Facing an annual battle with local officials and landlords who demand exorbrant rent increases, Ethiopia Reads decided to change the program model for serving this population of children who live in a densely populated and low-resource urban area.
In Ethiopia, it pays to be nimble in program design. Strategies must be mixed, must be flexible and fluid. Conditions change. We are now conducting focus groups among parents, educators, and officials in three sub-cities in Addis Ababa, including the Mercato District, about best ways to serve children with foundational literacy. This year we will be submitting project proposals to those three sub-cities.
By designing mobile programs based in strong existing libraries, we help both the base library and the whole sub-city, supporting library and broader literacy projects with training, materials, staff support and mentoring. We advocate district-wide for strong reading instruction and strong libraries. In this way, we have the potential to impact thousands of early grades readers within budgets comparable to one’s school’s operations budget, particularly in this spiraling costs in Addis Ababa.
More updates to come.
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