Profiling adult literacy facilitators in development contexts: An ethnographic study in Ethiopia

Turuwark Zalalam Warkineh, Alan Rogers, Tolera Negassa Danki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Teachers/facilitators in adult literacy learning programmes are recognised as being vital to successful learning outcomes. But little is known about them as a group. This small-scale research project comprising ethnographic-style case studies of five adult literacy facilitators (ALFs) in Ethiopia seeks to throw some light on these teachers, their backgrounds and what they bring to their teaching, with a view to improving the effectiveness of their work. The researchers found that all of the ALFs had high levels of commitment, but none of the ALFs received much in the way of training, and professional support for their role was in some cases missing. The degree (and their perception) of their own literacy practices varied greatly among them, even in their common use of mobile phones. It also emerged that while they had all fought very hard for their own education, one of the main reasons all of them stated for going into literacy teaching was not a general belief in the value of education but their priority need of a regular income. Another insight is that the female ALFs struggled more than their male counterparts in engaging learners; the women were criticised more excessively than the men. This research reveals something of the diversity of facilitators, and concludes that further such studies are needed in different contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9–30
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • adult literacy teaching
  • adult educators
  • facilitators
  • Integrated Functional Adult Literacy (IFAL) programme
  • mobile phone literacy

Cite this