Literacy comes second: working with groups in developing societies

Literacy programmes conventionally focus solely on non-literates and use a 'learn first, do later' model that is ill-suited to adult learning. Programmes based on existing groups (whether function- or location-based), and which use a 'learn through doing' approach, are more likely to be successful both in achieving literacy and in reinforcing other development goals. This paper reviews the theory and practice of adult literacy programmes.