Throughout this past year, AIL held a 5-month mobile literacy program where girls and women were given a cell phone and taught to use it.
Since receiving funding from Catapult, AIL conducted a mobile literacy program Afghanistan. A total of 39 women attended the workshop.
Estimated girls & women affected
39 women gained skills in using cell phones in Herat Province, Afghanistan, and the community is now also benefitting from the skills they learned through the workshop.
Estimated community members affected
Thanks to you, we launched a 5-month mobile literacy program where students were given a cell phone and taught to use it. We had 39 students in our first class! Our innovative mobile literacy program is proving to be effective in speeding up literacy acquisition and is extremely popular with students. It is a useful tool in addressing the literacy gap that females face in Afghanistan. The class began in March and ran for 5 months ending in August. The students were provided with cell phones and taught how to use them. The teacher then set tasks to be performed within groups and between groups of students. People make friends through the cell phone use and learn literacy lessons but also exchange ideas about life, culture, history, and health. One student said,” During this class I learned and I memorized more than 700 messages about morals and peace, more than 600 messages about society and social issues and more than 600 messages from different cultures. “
This program gave such a life changing effect on some students. One student expressed, “I had been an illiterate student before coming to this class. It is impossible to express my happiness in words for being able to read and write since attending this class. I could create and send 1500 new messages in this month that shows how I have progressed in this program." Another student said, “I really changed during this class. I wanted to register in regular school before this class but I couldn’t read books. Now I can read so I can be registered to attend regular school. This is a fundamental change for my life. When I was at home I was illiterate and now I am literate and I am in grade three. It means during these four months I learned three grades - grades one, two and three, this is a big a achievement for me and my family that I studied three grades during this four months”
Risks and challenges
Since literacy learning through mobile phone use is a very new thing in Afghanistan, the AIL staff had to explain the class to concerned parents who did not think girls should be using cell phones. The parents agreed, and we overcame the challenge.
What we’ve learnt
We’ve learned that the Mobile Literacy program is not just about literacy but so much more - it is a gateway tool to education. This program creates enthusiasm and motivation for education. Reading story books, newspapers, and magazines helps women and girls be educated and sophisticated to change their lives in positive ways. They also get interested in searching for articles about scientific, medical, social, and economic issues.
We’ve had many requests for the class and are looking to expand this successful program. Thank you for your support for this innovative program and for giving the gift of literacy to women and girls.
We've spent a total amount of $7,962 so far on materials, equipment, communication, rent, Utilities, travel & transportation, and salaries.
Amount spent so far
Travel & Transportation
First mobile literacy course of 2013 started
We at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank all of our donors for a very successful year so far.
We are educating more Afghans than ever before, and we are bringing health care and other services to them at an unprecedented rate. Our organization grows sustainably and steadily, and none of this could have been possible without your support.
We launched our first mobile literacy course for 2013 for 35 females in one of our learning centers in March. We are excited to be able to offer this accelerated learning class to another group of students. We anticipate that the results of this course will be as positive as the pilot program was last year.
Older girls and women are becoming literate and are expanding their minds. A girl who was involved in the mobile literacy program last year described her experiences:
“First I want to write that I am happy that I can read and write at the end of the class. This is a big success for me. Now I feel a big change came in my life during the last four months and I want to list these changes: Before four months I couldn’t read the literacy books, newspapers, and AIL magazines. Now I am able to read them. Before the mobile literacy class I didn’t know how to use a phone or how to write a message. Now I have self-confidence and I decided to go to the regular school next year. Before this class I didn’t have books and magazines in my house, and now I have three books and eleven magazines and I keep them in a small library. This shows that I am one of the eager students of this class. Now I am full of love for knowledge.”
We hope to hear many more of these kinds of stories in the coming months. Thanks to your donations, you have made this a possibility. Thank you!
Using phones and texting to accelerate literacy for Afghan girls and women.
Why we care: The literacy rate of Afghan women is 12.6%, one of the lowest in the world.
How we're solving this: Launching an innovative, 5-month mobile literacy program for women and adolescent girls in learning centers in Herat Province.
The literacy rate of Afghan women is one of the lowest in the world, 12.6%. With this in mind, the Afghan Institute of Learning, an Afghan women’s non-governmental organization founded in 1995 by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, is always searching for new ways to teach women and girls to read - and to teach them quickly.
In 2011, Afghan Institute of Learning launched an innovative, 5-month mobile literacy program for women and adolescent girls in two learning centers in Herat Province. In the first month, the students learned the Dari alphabet. The students were then given a cell phone and taught to use it. The teachers texted questions to the girls, who were to text back the answers in addition to writing them down in a notebook.
The phones were used to reinforce everything the girls were learning in class using the regular literacy textbooks, while giving them an incentive to practice reading and writing on their own. Completion of one level of Afghan Institute of Learning’s literacy course generally takes about nine months, but using the new technology to reinforce the coursework, 83% of the women were able to test into the third level of literacy courses after only five months.
Afghan Institute of Learning has had many requests for the class and is looking to expand this successful program. One class costs $7,962 or $265 per student. We invite you to invest in accelerating the rate at which 30 Afghan women and girls learn to read and write by donating to this project.