Carolina, 12 years old, is a 3rd-grade student at Nathuo Primary School, in Muecate district, Nampula province, north of Mozambique. Like her peers, after class, she attends the reading camp nearby the school.
This is her routine since she was enrolled in the first grade in Nathuo, which is one of the 160 schools supported by the Educating Children Together – Phase III (ECT-3), implemented by World Vision-Moçambique (WV-Moç), in Muecate and Nacarôa districts, aiming to improve literacy learning in school-aged children.
She is confident to show her literacy skills by writing, with big and elegant letters, her name and the alphabet on the small blackboard, during the reading camp session. Her commitment and dedication earned her First Place in the reading contest for the 3rd-grade category, held on June 16, during the celebrations of the International Day of the African Child.
Carolina's success results from learning inside and outside the classroom, the latter taking place in the reading camp created in the community. Here, children develop reading and writing abilities through interactive activities such as music, games, story reading, and drawing.
“Reading camp lessons helped me prepare myself for the reading competition. With the teachings of the promoters, I now can read and write”, said Carolina reflecting on the benefits of the reading camp sessions.
As part of its education component, ECT-3 has promoted sessions in 324 reading camps in FY22, in the districts of Muecate and Nacarôa, through the training of community volunteers (reading camp promoters) who lead the sessions.
"I work with the children to teach them the basics of literacy. I guide them to make the transition from our mother tongue (Emakhuwa) to the official language (Portuguese). The parents are supportive of their children's efforts in reading. Also, the community leaders are active in mobilizing children to go to the school and attend our sessions", said Paulo Eduardo, reading camp promoter.
Being distinguished in the reading competition gave Carolina extra motivation to carry on her studies, as she dreams of becoming a teacher. Luckily, the opportunity to teach may come sooner than expected.
To better entrench linkages between older students and those in grades 1 to 3, within the communities, ECT-3 project is reflecting on the possibility of training older students to serve as volunteer mentors. This would enable bright students, such as Carolina, to assist other children during the sessions.
The recommendation above was reflected in the Special Study on Community and Household Behaviours Associated with Improved Literacy Outcomes, commissioned by WV-Moç. The study occurred from 15 March to 28 June 2022. In complement to the literacy approach, ECT-3 also focuses on the improvement of school attendance and reducing short-term hunger, by providing daily school meals to more than 85,000 students.
By Benjamim Capito