Title

Literacy for poverty alleviation and social change : an assessment of Proliteracy Worldwide's program in China

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

This paper examines aspects of the literacy program of the Association for Rural Development of Yilong (ARDY), a Chinese NGO, which is funded by and utilizes the approach developed by Proliteracy Worldwide (PLW). Their rights-based approach is based on a perspective that literacy programs should go beyond that of only giving people reading and writing skills and that capacity building and empowerment components must be integrated into the literacy program. The paper addresses two major questions: What are the impacts of ARDY's program on poor farmers in Yilong County? How could the program be improved and made more effective? On the basis of field research, using four different data collection techniques, my findings have identified that literacy activities in this county are generally successful, and have resulted in five types of positive changes to the rural farmers: (1) literacy training has improved the chances of success of other development programs in ARDY, (2) all the recipients have improved their fundamental skills, (3) all the learners have gotten rid of or are lifting out of poverty, (4) literacy activities have brought along positive changes in the participants' awareness and confidence, (5) literacy learners have already started to take collective action to make social change in their communities. Despite these accomplishments, my findings indicate that there are still several pitfalls that should be improved or avoided in future implementation.

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