Poverty Reduction and Capacity Building through Livelihood Skills Training - EXPRO
Country Profile: Ethiopia
79,100,000 (2007 estimate)
Amharic; English (there are more than 75 officially recognised regional languages, e.g.: Tigrinya; Oromifa; Tigre; Harari; Agaw; Afar)
|Poverty (Population living on less than US$1 per day):|
|Total Expenditure on Education as % of GNP|
6.1 (2005 estimate)
|Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)|
|Total Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years)|
|Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 1995-2004)|
|Programme Title||Poverty Reduction and Capacity Building through Livelihood Skills Training (EXPRO)|
|Implementing Organization||Ministry of Education (Government of Ethiopia), Regional Education Bureaus (REBs), Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) commissions and DVV International (a German NGO).|
|Date of Inception||2000|
The project aims to establish model Community Skills Training Centres (CSTCs) in geographically and socio-economically diverse environments to provide systematic skills training to educationally disadvantaged people. The model CSTCs are intended to develop into:
- officially recognised providers of effective training;
- centres of information and innovative practice; and
- local centres for further training and experience-sharing for planners of adult and non-formal education (ANFE) or vocational training programmes, administrators, coordinators and trainers of other CSTCs, thereby expanding the programme to other areas in the respective regions.
The programme’s principal aim is to alleviate poverty and thus to actively contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Background and Context
Ethiopia is the most populous state in the Horn of Africa and one of the world’s poorest countries with a real per capita GDP of US$ 90. About 87% of its population live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture; more than 56% live in absolute poverty; and 70% of the adult population are functionally illiterate and unskilled. One in every two adults cannot read or write and the situation is worse still in the rural areas and for young and adult women. Furthermore, children and youth living in rural areas have little access to education or skills training programmes, and the overall quality of education in rural areas is generally low due to poverty and limited investment and resources. In addition, the drop-out rate for children and youth leaving the education system after the primary school level is very high and many school leavers fail to acquire adequate literacy or vocational/livelihood skills.
The Government of Ethiopia considers the education sector to play a crucial role in driving development and transformation as well as reducing poverty and empowering citizens. As a result, the Government has prioritised the development and provision of access to primary education to children under 15 years and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to out-of-school youth and adults who have completed grade 10 and above. Furthermore, the Government also offers literacy courses and basic skills training in CSTCs to people who left school prior to grade 10 or who have received no education at all.
Over the past decade, however, the Government has provided only marginal support in the field of Adult and Non-formal Education (ANFE). It was not until recently - notably, after the Dakar Forum on Education for All (EFA) and the formulation of the new Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) - that non-formal education gained stronger political support and began to be viewed as an alternative route to basic education. At the same time, livelihood-oriented adult non-formal education initiatives and activities carried out by NGOs and community-based organizations have been recognised for their role in promoting development and alleviating poverty.
Nonetheless, only a small number of NGO-initiated adult education programmes are operating at the community level and most, particularly those in the remote rural areas, are neither effective nor sustainable. Furthermore, most of these programmes continue to prioritise and provide literacy education and skills training without addressing the need for an integrated functional literacy or livelihood training programme that encompasses critical areas of adult education such as civic, cultural, or environmental education, or the broad field of continuing education. Not do they (adequately) equip learners to establish a livelihood or carry out economic activities after they have completed a course of training (e.g. open businesses or carry out income-generating activities/projects (IGA/Ps)). In general, these ANFE programmes are constrained by a severe lack of resources and qualified personnel.
It is in this context that DVV International – which has been assisting the basic skills training programme of the Ministry of Education and some regional education bureaus since it started working in Ethiopia in 1995 – initiated the EXPRO programme. Its main aim is to provide non-formal vocational training to specific target groups, such as youth, especially school drop-outs who have no access to the formal vocational training system as an alternative route to a vocational qualification. In 2002, DVV International undertook a comprehensive study on “skills and literacy training for better livelihoods” in Africa on behalf of the World Bank in order to assess the effectiveness of education and training programmes for the poor. One of the general findings was that programmes that concentrated on livelihood activities appear to be more successful than programmes that focused exclusively on literacy education. Hence, the current programme aims to promote adult literacy using a livelihood approach which simultaneously promotes social empowerment, income generation, community development and vocational training.
The EXPRO Programme
Picture 1: Energy Saving Oven/Stone
The EXPRO is a nationwide, integrated educational programme which combines literacy training with livelihood, health and entrepreneurial skills training (see pictures 1 to 4). The programme started in 2000 and endeavours to provide adults and out-of-school children with the opportunity to learn and receive training in non-formal education centres. The project was developed through a cooperation between the Ethiopian Government (Ministry of Education), Regional Education Bureaus (REBs), TVET commissions and the DVV country office. The involvement of several partners in the formulation and development of the project enabled it to reflect and capture the fundamental needs of both the nation and the individual beneficiaries within the communities. The project has evolved over the years in response to the practical demands and needs of the beneficiaries as well as the lessons that have emerged as the project was implemented. Moreover, strategies and methods are constantly being refined as new developments emerge.
Picture 2: PRA Course - Literacy
Picture 3: Pottery Training
Picture 4: Carpentry Training
Source (pictures 1 & 2): DVV International
The project aims to:
- promote youth and adult literacy, non-formal education and training at national, regional and district levels, particularly in rural areas;
- establish model Skill Training Centres – mainly Community Skill Training Centres (CSTCs), Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) and rural TVET Centres - in geographically and socio-economically diverse environments. These centres are intended to provide systematic skills training to educationally disadvantaged people living mainly in rural areas;
- help to reduce and alleviate poverty in selected regions/ federal states by enabling poverty-stricken youths and adults to improve their livelihood potential and capacities;
- create linkages between adult literacy and livelihood skills training;
- train adult facilitators, planners, policy-makers and programme heads; and
- provide livelihood and enterprise skills training so that trainees can engage in income generating activities that will reduce poverty, improve standards of living and thus contribute to the communities’ social and economic development.
Implementation: Approaches and Methodologies
The programme is currently being implemented by the Regional Education Bureaus (REBs), Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) commissions and one women’s association in six regions/federal states of Ethiopia through a network of trained trainers. The training takes place in the seventeen (17) officially recognised Community Skills Training Centres (CSTCs) which have been developed to date.
The EXPRO programme targets youth and adults who have either: failed to complete primary or secondary education (i.e. who left school before completing grade 10 or lower); have no access to formal vocational or higher education; or have received no education at all. However, preference is given to poor people from rural areas with particularly high rates of poverty. Trainees undergo intensive literacy and skills training for a minimum of one to two months. The intensive training strategy has enabled the programme to train 1000 people annually.
Guiding Strategies and Principles
Programme activities are based on strategies and methods which have proved successful in different contexts. These include:
- ensuring that decision-makers and key people are sensitised to the issue and provided with information and orientation. Without their support major innovations are unlikely to take place;
- involving relevant line ministries such as those responsible for capacity building, agriculture and health, as well as the Ministry of Education. Educational interventions alone are not enough to achieve sustainable poverty reduction;
- involving target groups and their communities in planning and implementation. The programme design and participatory methods must ensure community ownership and the active participation of the community;
- designing the training curriculum and content with a focus on livelihood skills. The term “livelihood” is used in EXPRO in the traditional sense of making a living in a predominantly agrarian society. The kind of skills and thus the curriculum relevant to a particular area is identified through a situational analysis and PRA, combined with a market analysis and training needs assessment;
- making the training programmes market-oriented and demand-driven. It is crucial that a market analysis combined with a training needs assessment be carried out prior to starting any training. Depending on the geographical location of the CSTC, there are currently three options for choosing skills areas: according to livelihood needs, market needs or training needs;
- linking the programme to credit institutes and institutions that support enterprise. It is important to involve the relevant institutions, banks, NGOs and micro or small credit information centres in the planning of the annual training programme right from the start;
- targeting the programmes towards carefully selected groups such as rural girls and women, landless youth, school drop-outs and other motivated individuals living in poverty. These groups are likely not only to participate fully in the training but also to start income-generating initiatives afterwards. Educational or motivational requirements must be carefully considered before potential participants are invited;
- applying research-based methods to analyse areas, markets, training and institutional needs, and to plan and evaluate programmes. Systematic training must be organized to enable adult and NFE planners, trainers of trainers (ToT) in livelihood skills or CSTC coordinators to apply the methods properly;
- supporting capacity-building through the ToT approach and the interregional sharing of experience;
- training coordinators according to programme needs. The training is streamlined in strict accordance with the programme requirements. It also offers new opportunities such as linking livelihood with literacy, mobilising resources and raising funds, and cooperating with other sectors;
- using the training opportunity to inform and teach trainees about HIV and AIDS. Whenever young people and adults gather for learning or training purposes this opportunity should be used to inform and, if possible, teach trainees about the impact of HIV and AIDS and how to deal with it;
- producing relevant training materials in a range of languages. No other government organization or institution and no adult education NGO in the country is producing materials for livelihood skills training or non-formal vocational training. There is an urgent need for training materials to be developed, produced and translated into at least three languages;
- following a step-by-step approach in developing a model CSTC. EXPRO has developed a guide on the “New Profile of a Model CSTC” that comprises “Ten Basic Activity Steps” which must be followed in order to identify and utilise potential resources for income generation;
- increasing the coverage area of the model CSTC by providing boarding facilities and/or satellite centres. Providing basic boarding facilities, especially for girls and women, helps to increase the coverage area significantly; and
- using and promoting existing and new co-operations between communities, CBOs, NGOs, regional associations and government organizations.
Programme Impact and Challenges
Organisation to be contacted for information
The following are key challenges that the programme is currently facing:
- In most regions, representatives of the relevant ministries at district levels are not used to cooperating with one another in order to practise the multi-sectoral approach needed to combat poverty;
- Staff shortages: since there is only one pre-service training institution in the country that offers systematic training and produces qualified ANFE staff, the programmes are facing stuff shortages. As a result, additional institutionalised training capacities need to be established at both the national and regional levels. Furthermore, conditions must be created to prevent a high staff turn-over which would undermine the continuity of the programme;
- The question of how to link livelihood training with literacy education has only recently been tackled by introducing the REFLECT approach. Whether literacy education should be included in the skills training or run separately has still to be decided;
- Due to the general lack of suitable training materials and capacities to produce these, ways and means for developing new training materials, manuals, and teaching/learning materials in different languages must be explored; and
- Linking training with credit facilities remains a challenge
Providing skills training is one major way of improving the livelihoods of poor people. Whether literacy education should be included in skills training or provided separately has still to be decided. The results of an impact evaluation of a three-year pilot programme show that an adult education approach of this kind does help to reduce poverty. The reactions from target groups, local stakeholders, adult and non-formal education experts, administrators and concerned politicians have been predominantly positive and encouraging. Politicians and administrators committed to poverty reduction should consider the EXPRO model for large-scale implementation, and multi- and bilateral donors are requested to provide support.
- Bernd Sandhaas: Community Based Non-formal Livelihood Skills Training for Youth and Adults in Selected Regions of Ethiopia (EXPRO), paper to be published in Adult Education and Poverty Reduction.
- Adult Education and the Reduction of Poverty - conference report: http://www.gla.ac.uk/centres/cradall/docs/globalpriority_report.pdf
- DVV International: http://www.iiz-dvv.de/index.php?article_id=113&clang=1
Dr Bernd Sandhaas
DVV Regional Office East Africa
P.O. Box 34743
Email: User: iiz.dvv
Host: (at) telecom.net.et