A to Z initially believed providing books was the best approach to help our partners provide literacy education for Zambian children. We have since realized a more comprehensive approach is needed. Simply said: Books alone will not improve Zambia’s literacy rate.
Zambia’s socioeconomic circumstances pose unusual challenges in delivering literacy education. The high incidence of orphans, poverty, and AIDS significantly impair learning. Particularly challenging is the chronic nature of these conditions combined with the daily immediacy of their effects on both the children and our partners. Learning will be impaired and relegated to an afterthought if the effects of these conditions persist.
Children need to be healthy in order to learn. Classrooms must be safe, comfortable and well equipped. Teachers need to engage in professional development, increasing their knowledge of teaching strategies and learning styles.
Delivering literacy is much more involved than we originally imagined, but we remain undaunted. We are adapting our approach to more effectively achieve our mission. Books are still needed, yet so are nutritious school lunches, sturdy desks, well-lit classrooms, and enthusiastic teachers.