On the 15th of April we kicked of the evaluation (applying appreciative inquiry) of an impressive programme in Egypt, that once began in 1972 with illiteracy education for women in poor villages. Based on the concept of “learn and liberate yourself” of Paolo Freire, women learn reading and writing in the context of their lifes: identity and human rights, violence against women, men and marriage, health and hygiene, children and nutrition, and so on. During this first week, appreciative inquiry session were held at the Caritas head office in Cairo, in the regional offices (training and coordination centres) of Minya and Assiut and in rural villages in Upper Egypt, where the highest illiteracy of the country is (up to 40%). First findings show remarkable social change in villages where the programme has been implemented: more women participation (elections, social rights), breaking of taboos (less female circumcision), increased self-confidence and respect for women, more economic participation. Many perform better in the exams than those graduating from government schools. Around 750 classes with 15-20 students are operated yearly.
The evaluation is commissioned by Misereor in Aachen (Germany), which has been a long time supporter of the programme with around 625 thousand euro yearly. In the second phase more centers and villages will be visited and an on-line questionnaire is posted to NGO’s, government, partners, employees and teachers in the programme. The evaluation ends with a 3-days summit with all stakeholders, end of June 2013, whereafter final recommendations are presented at Misereor head office in Germany in August.