The following provides some lessons on the MLE efforts of the Lango Literacy Project of Uganda’s Multilingual Education Network with funding from the Hewlett Foundation in the U.S. and Edukans in the Netherlands and support from the mangotreeuganda.org:
The Mango Tree program based in Northern Uganda has produced and made available on the Internet the following videos describing the organization’s goals and objectives. The videos illustrate the organization’s working procedures and methods for promoting first language literacy instruction in the primary grades within the context of the Lango Literacy Project. This project operates within school systems characterized by the same limiting conditions prevailing in much of sub-Saharan Africa — class sizes that can top 100 children, only few classroom instructional resources, and embedded in communities without strong traditions of mother-tongue literacy.
Mango Tree, which is supported by funding from the Hewlett Foundation in the U.S. and Edukans in the Netherlands, has assisted the Lango Literacy Project in delivering mother-tongue literacy instruction. In their model, local educators are prepared to perform multiple roles necessary not only to deliver mother-tongue literacy instruction to early primary grade students, but also to bolster and sustain the effect of this instruction within the community as a whole. The Project operates on a multi-pronged approach that addresses teacher preparation, materials development, language proficiency assessment, and building a sustainable network of administrative support.
The Project recognizes the vital role that the community, especially parents, plays in making the program successful. This begins by teachers themselves advocating for the program in the community, not only by explaining the rationale for using Leblongo in instruction, but also by enlisting the active involvement of parents. For instance, parents are encouraged to learn to read Leblango themselves to assist teachers in assessing the growing literacy skills of their children. The guiding philosophy of this community intervention is the belief that the local language binds the community and that attention given to the language better insures its long-term viability. As Dennis Akaa, the Mango Tree project manager explains, “Language is an instrument of belonging.”
The instructional approach the project supports relies on a carefully devised story-based literacy curriculum. Each week of instruction is anchored in an illustrated story that serves as the basis for developing phonics and word attack skills. The stories and the vocabulary presented in them, all of which are heavily illustrated, also support students’ comprehension and writing skills.
The following videos detail a complete picture of the project, with highlights of all the major planning, development, and instructional components.
(From a report in the MTB-MLE Network)