Using a CLA Approach to Improve Literacy in Uganda
For the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP), adapting to improve results is at the core of everything we do, and at the core of what have now become national reading reform efforts together with the USAID/Uganda Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity (LARA) and the Global Partnership for Education Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) covering 80% of government primary schools. CLA was at the heart of it all including regular program reviews, "all hands" technical meetings, before and after action debriefs, “stocktaking” in crucial programmatic areas and a robust research agenda which have led to dozens of program modifications, guided the development of the national reading reform and improved reading achievement in the early grades of primary school in Uganda.
What does it take to get one child reading? What does it take to get millions of children reading? For reading reform efforts in Uganda, this translates into supporting the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to train over 53,000 teachers, develop and distribute over 5 million reading primers (in 12 local languages and English) and provide ongoing support to over 10,000 schools. Monitoring and managing inputs at scale is not easy. How do you know if you are training the right teachers, that they are using their new skills or if the books are getting into the hands of the learners? Fast, actionable data with enough detail to guide change is required. All through a CLA lens to ensure that the challenges identified are the most salient and are more likely to be understood and put into practice (adaptation!).