Spotlight on Projects Abroad literacy efforts
Projects Abroad has partnered with a local youth football academy in an underprivileged community where the project takes place. “The kids love football but do not show any interest in schooling and pay little attention to education,” says Eric Ewusie, Assistant Regional Coordinator in Ghana. The project uses football to interest the children and get them to attend practice, where they will then be encouraged to read in a fun and interactive environment.
Literacy development is a core focus area for all Projects Abroad Care and Teaching placements. Our primary aim is to develop what we refer to as ‘Literacy Rich Environments’ at our projects to help improve children’s reading and writing abilities.
A Literacy Rich Environment means ensuring children have access to materials such as flashcards and books, take part in activities such as storytelling and singing, and are supported in their efforts through conversation and reading/writing sessions. At each placement that has chosen to focus on literacy as one of their primary goals, we measure children’s access to resources, activities and support according to a checklist with three scoring levels – whether the placement needs considerable help, some help or no help at all.
The checklists also serve as a guide for the kinds of activities that volunteers and staff should focus on to promote literacy, such as talking with infants and toddlers about pictures, signs, and words in their environment. Our in-depth management plans and detailed checklists mean that we can identify problem areas at our placements and work to remedy them, with the help of our dedicated volunteers and staff.
From a football pitch in Ghana to a global rollout of literacy improvements, we plan to build on our existing successes, one child at a time. For now, our experimental Football Pitch Reading project shows great potential for expansion. “It only started in June but the feedback from volunteers has been great,” says Jenny Puyo, Ghana’s Operations Manager, “We’ve started with one club for now but hope to expand it to two.” And for the volunteers that get involved, it’s a rewarding opportunity to really see the results of their efforts and know how they are contributing to the bigger picture.