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African Women Rising is the largest provider of adult literacy in Northern Uganda.

Literacy is one of the greatest problems for the women that we serve. During the war many of these women were abducted, forced to fight, became girl mothers, or simply had to drop out of school to help their families cope with the effects of the conflict.

Today, with peace, access to literacy is a direct link to women’s livelihoods and empowerment. In order to become a better farmer, businesswoman, or simply a more productive member of society, women must know how to read, write and calculate.

African Women Rising runs 34 Functional Adult Literacy centers, all reaching people in very remote areas of Northern Uganda. The 34 centers provide education to over 2,000 adults. We use REFLECT, an innovative approach to adult learning and social change that combines the theories of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire with participatory methodologies.

Our centers are more than a place to become literate. Participants identify issues that are relevant to them and discuss how to solve them. For example, the lack of trustworthy candidates in last year’s election made over 50 students to run for public office. Centers have also repaired boreholes, opened up new roads, started marketplaces and community schools for children.

Our project outcomes and long-term impact have broad ramifications and include increased soil fertility, increased crop yields, better diet, and nutritional intake increased income for participants and increased access to healthcare and schooling.

Most students come into the program at Level 1, meaning they have no educational background at all.  They are taught how to read and write simple words in the native language, Luo, and how to add, subtract, and multiply.  Students who graduate to Level 2 learn how to perfect reading and writing in the native language.  Those who move on to Level 3 begin to learn English.

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