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Sector Social Development Sector

Sub-sector Community Mobilization and Empowerment

Code 0333 (formerly SI 15(A))

Title Functional Adult Literacy Programme

Implementing Agency Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development

Location Nationwide

Total Plan Exp. US$ 20.72m

Funds Secured US$ 13.54m

Funding Gap US$ 7.18m

Start Date 1999/2000

Completion Date On going


The Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) Programme started in 8 districts in 1992 and by 1999 it had expanded to 22 districts. The Government in collaboration with the World Bank carried out an Evaluation of Functional Adult Literacy Activities in 1999 and recommended expansion of the Programme to all districts in the country. The programme is now covering all the Higher Local Governments districts and Municipalities and is delivered through more than 20,000 instructors who conduct literacy classes in various villages.

The FAL initiative is targeting persons above 15 years of age both men and women who missed formal education and those dropped out during the lower primary. The majority of the participants are able to attain a level of reading, writing and numeric computation comparatively higher than that of primary 4 pupils. Based on the adult illiteracy rate of 31% as of 2005/06, a total of 4.7 million people in the country, out of which almost 2.9 million are women and 1.8 million are men, potentially require functional literacy skills.

One of the important outcomes associated with the FAL initiative is its impact on poverty eradication. The beneficiaries of the programme are active participants in community activities and utilise the functional skills they have acquired to engage in income generating activities and to improve their livelihood. 


The objectives are to:

        Increase access to adequate and equitable functional literacy to both men and women;

        Empower the non- literates and semi-illiterates with skills, knowledge and information in order to enhance their productive potentials;

        Inculcate and sustain a culture of lifelong learning among the adult learners;

        Enhance effective participation of adult learners in public and community initiatives; and

        Mobilise adequate resources for expansion and sustainability of the Functional Adult Literacy Programme.

Expected Outputs

        Increased population that can read and write;

        Increased knowledge and ability of adult learners to make informed decisions in communities;

        Improved attitudinal and behavioral change in the communities.

        Improved understanding of the roles and responsibilities at family and community levels.

        Improved productivity and generation of incomes for Poverty Eradication in households.

        Increased participation in lifelong learning activities.

        Learning and teaching materials developed

        Number of FAL learners

        No FAL classes.

Performance Indicators

        Number of enrolment of adult learners in FAL classes;

        Number of instructors participating in the programme;

        Primer ; Learner ratio;

        FAL completion rate;

        Number of classes established;

        Number of income generating projects initiated and established by Functional Adult Literacy groups;

        Transition and completion rates in the FAL programme;

        Number of learning and teaching materials (including Braille and sign language) developed.

Technical Description

The programme teaches non-literate youth and adults aged 15 years and above in basic reading, writing and numeracy integrated with practical knowledge and skills for increased productivity. The first cycle of basic literacy takes about 9-12 months after which learners graduate to second level for a similar period of time then advances to the 3rd level when English is introduced. Certification is determined through continuous assessment and testing of learners’ progress. Learners interested in acquiring more knowledge pursue post literacy learning and/or join the formal education system.

Literacy instructors under supervision of community development workers conduct literacy Classes in communities. To build capacity for implementation of the programme, district trainers’ supervisors and literacy instructors are trained in adult learning methodologies.  


The Project is financed by the Government of Uganda under the Poverty Action Fund (PAF). More funding from Iceland International Development Agency supports the programme in the islands and shores of Lake Victoria.

Plan of Operation

Adult learners are mobilized by local leaders and Community Development Workers (CDWs) at village level to form literacy classes. The literacy instructors are identified from the community and trained at the district level. The CDWs and other district extension workers are trained as literacy supervisors to oversee day-to-day implementation of programme in districts. The Ministry headquarters staffs carry out follow up monitoring and support supervision of the programme countrywide.

Funds for district activities are disbursed directly to districts as conditional grants. The Ministry Programme Secretariat handles development and production of learning materials, printing and development of proficiency tests and examinations, policy formulation, quality assurance, support supervision, monitoring and evaluation.

A Strategic plan on Functional Adult Literacy has been formulated to further focus the actions and initiatives on Functional Adult Literacy.