Sewa (not her real name), a woman of 45 years old within one of the communities we work in, has never had the opportunity to write her name by herself. She always seeks the help of another person each time she needs to pen down her name, either for official or unofficial purposes. She has a phone but only knows how to use the phone to receive calls. She finds it hard to identify the names stored on the phone when she is alone. She is often left in a disadvantaged position when she needs to do something basic with her phone.
Like Sewa, there are many other women with similar stories in the communities we work. As a result of this, we have started an adult literacy class for women. Here, they learn to read and write. The first success we have achieved since we started the program in April is that now all 20 women within our facility can write their names by themselves. The case was different before now as more than seven women found it hard to write their name while another group of 4 could not write theirs properly.
We are currently in July 2021, and we can already tell the difference for the women. Asides from learning to read and write, the women are given opportunities to tell stories, debate, have conversations as a group using English and Pidgin English. Through this, we are improving their confidence and, the women are getting more involved in issues that concern them and the community. The women are also becoming advocates for the “Girl-Child” Education within the communities.
Adult education should be embraced not only at the community level but at all levels. Different stakeholders and partners need to be engaged in this process. At Durian, we are currently working with RevTutors an accredited education service provider in Ondo state. We are hoping to extend this partnership to the Ministry of Education in the Ondo state. We believe that when we get more partners on board, we will train and engage more community women in the learning process.
We want to see that women in rural communities are not disadvantaged when it comes to the use of their phones and also to documenting their finances. We are taking it, one woman, at a time.