Peer Literacy and Textbook Program – An interim report

Sue Dick, Education Chairperson and Project Lead, Compassionate Eye Foundation

At the beginning of the year Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) proudly announced its extended engagement in Sierra Leone. To promote the quality of education and to build literacy in the country, CEF joined with CAUSE Kids by providing support to two programs:

The Peer Literacy Program gives 20 girls from the secondary school system the opportunity to be seen as leaders in their community in their role as tutors. This exciting and innovative program also enhances the girls' education and that of 500 primary school students they teach.

The Textbooks Program involves supplying 12 schools in remote areas of Sierra Leone with a complete set of textbooks and Teacher Manuals for 72 teachers and 3,600 students at the elementary level.

We are pleased to report that both projects are taking shape. Deb Penninga, CAUSE Kids Canadian Program Manager, considers the first stage of the pilot Peer Literacy Program to be a great success. Deb visited Sierra Leone and saw the progress first hand. She reported that teachers were supportive, students were responsive and students who attended the program regularly demonstrated a marked improvement in their reading skills.

A newly enrolled Peer Literacy Coordinator works with tutors and young girls engaging them in taking a role model position and making sure they have the resources they need to succeed in the program. In the 2010 – 2011 school year, the Peer Literacy Coordinator is expected to have an even greater presence in the schools. The coordinator will continue to support the highly motivated tutors with a clear understanding of their obligations and the benefits of the program. Complimentary reading programs will be offered in the Integrated Learning Centre, with different classes throughout the week.

We are also pleased to report that the textbooks have now been distributed to all the 12 schools in the Koinadugu District in northern Sierra Leone. As well, a teachers’ manual was developed to provide guidance and ideas on how to incorporate ‘textbook use’ into lesson plans.

The teachers are very excited to receive the textbooks and are looking forward to taking full advantage of this teaching tool this September.

The Textbook Coordinator, a retired Ministry of Education officer, has been hired to conduct a workshop on the principles of the textbook use. In his role, he also will visit each class at each school and work with teachers and students to establish a comfortable routine of textbook use in the classroom.

With support of other donors, locked bookshelves has been built for each classroom in each of the 12 schools. This way, teachers can monitor textbook use, making sure that the books are well maintained and can be passed on to future students.

Compassionate Eye Foundation thanks all supporters for their contribution making this important funding possible.

To learn more about projects Compassionate Eye Foundation supports, visit

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