The Women’s Empowerment through Learning Literacy (WELL) project develops literacy among the women of Kashare, where at present 35 per cent of women cannot read or write. The first cohort of 116 joined the project in July 2015 and still meet regularly. Groups of up to 30 members are led by trained KICS staff with facilitators from the womens’ own villages.
After a year, all the first group could read simple messages, write their names, and identify numbers, and some had achieved much more. A second cohort of 118 women started in August 2016 and they are making good progress.
The project is vital to enable women to understand their rights in a traditiona patriarchal society. It also equips them to run small businesses using a KICS microcredit loan. In turn, this should enable the women to send their children to school, and then share what their children have learned.
The teachers use local issues, such as the need for clean water, to engage the group and make sure that what they learn is relevant to their lives. The facilitators help with practising reading and writing: some of the women have never held a pencil.
Staff work with the women for nine months, and after that the groups continue to met regularly with the local facilitators for at least another year.