+251 114 651 212


Education Strategy

Education Strategy



The contributions of ASE’s Education support program were among the major achievements of ASE’s development interventions in the past. As one of the social service activities of the organization, ASE’s education support programs created and increased access to primary education to school age children who did not get the chance for schooling for a number of reasons. The opportunity created to the children through the ACCESS centres and through the rehabilitation of schools has also contributed to a significant increase in the enrolment rate of the respective Weredas. The practice is now taken up by the government as one means to meet the millennium development goal of universal primary education by 2015 to which the country is a signatory.

In a similar way, ASE’s support to the literacy effort in the program areas has also made a considerable contribution in raising the literacy rate of the respective Weredas. The commonly held belief that literate communities positively influence development initiatives was the driving force behind ASE’s determination to support literacy programs in the program areas. The Functional Adult Literacy program initiated by ASE in the program areas captured the attention of Wereda education officials who are now putting every effort to make it part of their literacy program.

The close cooperation, understanding and full participation of partners: local government offices, (Administration, WOE, WOCB, etc.), community members, parents of students, school communities, KAs etc. – created a smooth and enabling environment that made work easier and effective. The acceptance ASE has gained in the communities has always been the secret behind the successful implementation of its development programs including the education support components.

ASE has now developed a new strategy plan considering Capacity Development as its development philosophy for the year 2010- 2015. According to this new strategy ASE will focus on building the institutional and human capacity of the communities and local actors so that they will be in a position to effectively carry out their functions. Establishing CBIs and enhancing their capacity will enable them to be on the forefront for socio economic development in their communities. Capacitated CBIs would be self reliant in initiating and leading development undertakings with confidence. This means that they would plan and implement activities that will allow them to meet the basic needs of their communities including education.

In addition to its core function of building capacity of communities and local actors, ASE will therefore respond to CBIs initiatives on children and adult education based on the requests that come from the CBIs themselves. On the other hand, ASE has also a long held desire of becoming centre of excellence in community learning considering its long years of experience in community- learning related activities as a strong foundation on which to build on.

Good quality audio-visual and print training materials, the initiation and implementation of distance/correspondence education and community radio programs and the experiences that could be gained from each are considered to be among the building blocks in establishing ASE as centre of excellence in community learning. This document is therefore prepared to reflect the aims of ASE’s education support programs and to direct the ways and procedures in their implementation.

The first part of the document deals with the Background and Rationale and reflects experiences and contributions of ASE’s education support programs in the past and also presents justifications for each of the components.

The second part deals with concept and definitions and is followed by situation analysis. The last part of the document treats the major components of ASE’s education strategies along with their implementation procedures. Background and Rationale Agri Service Ethiopia has been working as an educating and training organization from the very beginning.

It has a long and strongly held conviction that direct participation of communities in all aspects of their development is vital to realise change in a more sustainable manner. The efficacy of this contribution rests squarely on readiness of community members to do what is required of them. This readiness of the community in turn is largely determined by its exposure to education and training. Without doubt development efforts easily take root in communities with educated members. This was the driving force behind ASE’s education support program which was implemented through children education, adult literacy and training programs for a long time now.

ASE’s children education program, which consisted of Appropriate and Cost effective Children Education within the School System (ACCESS) and Formal School Support Program, had considerable contributions to the communities ASE has been working with and to the government effort of expanding primary education by creating opportunity for the schooling of children in remote and marginalized communities.

Alternative & Cost effective Children Education within the School System /ACCESS

ACCESS has been used as the best strategy to reach school age children in the remote ASE’s program areas. The specific features of the ACCESS program: closeness / nearness of the centres to the homes of the students, its cost effectiveness as the centres are built using local materials and community labour contributions, flexibility of the school calendar and time table that accommodats the need of parents and children, created opportunities that opened the gates for the schooling of the children.

ASE’s ACCESS program has therefore benefited thousands of children including girls, to get education. The centres being close to the homes of the children helped to avoid obstacles hindering education of girls and encouraged them to be enrolled. The closeness coupled with the flexible nature of the program also enabled parents to get the support of their children whenever they needed.   The convenience created, therefore, encouraged parents to educate their children and fully support the program in various ways.

By and large, the ACCESS centres created favourable and encouraging conditions that allowed students to pursue with their education even after completing first cycle in the ACCESS centres. Measures that help to maintain quality of education (availability of text books, the practice of proper teaching methods, use of teaching aids, well trained facilitators, linkage and support from formal schools, follow-up and continuous assessment of students performance etc.) were regularly practiced in the centres. Involvement and close follow-up of program by the government (WOE), willingness of parents to teach their children and the strong desire on the side of the students were contributing factors for the children to continue with their education.

Formal School support

Equally important was the formal school support program which benefitted large number of primary schools in the program areas through rehabilitation works and supply of badly needed materials including desks, blackboards, tap water facilities, etc.. Apart from creating conducive and healthy teaching/learning environment in the schools, the program has also helped to create an attractive environment for increased number of students to come to school.

In addition to the support for the direct teaching and learning in the class, assistance to strengthen co-curricular activities helped to make significant contribution to the overall development and maturity of the students enabling them to discharge their share of responsibilities in the community. Through club activities important issues that affect life in the school and the surrounding community are dealt with. Harmful traditional practices including those that hinder education of girls were also addressed.

At the present the government is making every effort to expand primary education in all parts of the country. Local governments have also made education, particularly primary education one of their priority areas in an attempt to meet the millennium development goal of universal primary education by 2015.   As a result enrolment rate of school age children is showing a significant growth although it is said to have problems regarding quality.  With a fast growing school age population, it also requires a combined effort to achieve the MDG.

 Adult Literacy

According to UNESCO, literacy has two definitions – Basic and Functional. In the basic definition a literate person is one who can, with understanding, both read and write a short simple statement on his /her everyday life. On the other hand the functional definition states that a functionally literate person is one who can engage in all these activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his /her to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his/her own and the community’s development. The Functional approach therefore originates from life experiences.

ASE’s adult literacy programs were executed both through the traditional approach and through Functional Adult Literacy (FAL). The FAL approach is currently practiced as Livelihood Based Literacy (LBL) and is one major component of ASE’s Community Learning Forum (CoLF) procedures. The implementation of LBL is fully explained on ASE’s Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) strategy document.

The purpose of supporting literacy program in ASE’s intervention areas was to create a fertile ground for development interventions by producing literate community members who can make a conscious and active participation in development efforts. It was to make development driven change tangible and sustainable within a relatively short period of time and also to support government effort to reduce illiteracy among the rural community. Improvements in one’s personal life, sanitation and health, handling of children, etc. were seen among community members as benefits gained from being literate.

ASE was carrying out its adult literacy program in close collaboration with the CBI (Community) and WOE. The CBIs were managing the overall program by identifying and selecting facilitators, mobilizing and encouraging farmers to participate in the program. ASE’s supports were through the construction of centres, reading rooms, supply of furniture, textbooks, facilitation of training programs for the facilitators, etc. The WOE was largely responsible for the follow-up and supervision of the program

Distance Education

Distance Education, which started as Correspondence Education, over a hundred years ago, is now widely used as an educational system to satisfy the increasing demand for education. Initially it was developed to reach and satisfy the learning needs of students separated from institutions in distance and time.

The method has also been used to offer basic vocational courses designed to help improve livelihood of participants. This function of distance education becomes particularly essential in places where social services and access to improved life conditions are limited. It will have a significant contribution to bring desirable change in the socio economic life of the people.

Courses in basic Practical Functional Education were known to have been successfully provided to illiterate groups using a combination of audio cassettes, non verbal flipcharts and organized and supervised study groups. For instance, Institution for Economic and Social Development in Africa /INADES/ in West Africa have successfully used simple and well illustrated correspondence texts in elementary agriculture with low literacy level individuals and with the help of literate group leaders.

Some of the above-mentioned types of distance education programs were put into practice in Ethiopia.

It was in 1969 that the first attempt to train farmers through correspondence education was made in the former Wollamo Sodo of Sidamo province (present day Wollaita Zone) in the south of the country. It was Father Henry, a missionary school director in Areka and founder of ASE, who initiated the idea. He strongly believed that teaching the modern techniques of agriculture to farmers would bring the desired change in the farmer’s life.

ASE’s Correspondence/distance education is therefore as old as the organization. Historical development of the organization shows that correspondence education, which was later supported by radio education, transmitted to participants was actually the first development approach of the organization

The aim of the program was to contribute to the social and economic advancement of the farmers through adult education in Agriculture, health & hygiene and home science. Participants of the program were both literate and illiterate members of the farming community who followed the program individually or in groups. Large number of people, both men and women benefited from the program which later on expanded its service to include different regions in the country.

Both correspondence and radio education, which were not commonly known at the time, have contributed towards improving the life of participants and created the opportunity for thousands in different parts of the country to improve their level of education. Some of these participants are now at high positions and testify as living evidences.

Even though both correspondence education and radio education programs were interrupted and were not part of the later phases of ASE’s development programs for some reasons, their contributions to ASE’s aim of improving the life’s of thousands at the time was so concrete to be denied. In countries like Ethiopia where services and facilities are poorly organized or non existent in remote, marginalized areas and scattered settlements, they could still prove to be ideal approaches to address livelihood problems. Hence they are taken up once again, with some lessons from the previous practice, and made part of ASE’s education support program.

Prevailing conditions are even better now than in the early days for the implementation of distance education. High school drop-outs from the rural families, increased number of literate farmers from literacy campaigns and a number of ex-soldiers from the previous regime who have joined the farming communities, have created conducive environment for restarting distance education. Participants of the development programs carried out by ASE in its previous interventions    are also targets. Although the projects and trainings were of a limited scope and were not given in depth, the exposure created a favourable condition to provide higher learning level skill training based on what the farmers already have acquired. From their common background and exposure to experiences, the target population is composed of a more or less homogenous group with similar standards of living and experience.

At present, there are no organizations or institutions in this country that carry out distance education programs on agricultural production techniques, which are particularly designed for literate farmers. At the same time, there are a number of NGOs and other development organizations working with rural communities in one way or another. Most of these activities however need to be strengthened and supported by relevant distance education programs to sustain them and to back-up and improve results.

Hence, distance teaching can be used as an economic means to provide large numbers of trainees with chances to participate in the training program. The training can reach farmers where they are, however remote that may be and therefore allows them to continue earning while being trained. Such initial or up-grading courses on a number of production techniques, allow farmers to be trained in the midst of their practical experience rather than detached from it.

ASE will therefore exploit this situation to create opportunities for literate farmers to acquire knowledge and skill in advanced task oriented and sustainable agricultural production techniques applicable to their livelihood.

Radio Education

ASE’s early Correspondence Education and Face-to-Face programs were supported and supplemented with radio transmitted programs.

The Rural Radio Programs which started to be on Air on April, 1978 in Sodo were transmitted in Amharic, Wollaitigna and Oromigna and were produced on several topics in agriculture, health education and home science. The programs were broadcasted by the then Educational Mass Media Department (EMMD) to the Rural Radio Forums (RRFs) organized in different parts of the country – Jibat Mecha, Wolaita, Chelalo, Mendeyou, Ghenale, Kembata & Hadiya provinces. The forums were organized within the Kebele Peasant Associations where ASE’s course followers resided. For example, there were 199 RRFs by June 1982. The rural radio programs were coordinated by Animators who were trained for the job by EMMD.

Later on training was given only to selected farmers who then formed satellite groups and led the training program with a radio program support. For example, in 1984 there were about 278 RRFs with a total number of about 8340 members in the then Arsi, Bale, Gojjam and Sidamo in the satellite group training program. Radio sets were also provided to the satellite groups who would be meeting to form rural radio forums to follow subjects covered by the radio program (ASE, Joint Eval., 1986:54). These RRFs were very active and were known to have contributed to the continuous attendance of the satellite group members.

These Radio programs which were used as additional supplementary material to overcome the shortcomings of the correspondence training did not persist as part and parcel of the developmental phases that followed one after another in the organization. The memory of the significant contribution of the programs, however, did not fade out with time and created the urgency to reconsider it as a decisive tool to foster development undertakings. Hence, it was brought back once again as Radio Education for Rural Mass (REFORM) under ASE’s education support programs.

Radio being the most accessible mass medium of communication in use, is a particularly effective means of communication in communities where most people cannot read or write. Technically its production costs are significantly lower and its reception is easier and more affordable than most other media.

Radio Education For Rural Mass (REFORM) will be implemented through the establishment of community radio stations and through networking with local radio stations in the program areas. REFORM is designed to disseminate information and knowledge on important and relevant development issues to community members in ASE program areas and is expected to be an influential and significant input that reinforces all other development initiatives.

Community Radio

Radio stations can be categorized into public (government), Commercial and Community. The public radio station is one that is established and owned by governments (the public) and Commercial radio stations are privately owned radio stations established for profit making. Community radio on the other hand, is one owned by a community to serve the interest of the community members.

Major characteristics that distinguish Community radio from the others are:

  • It is community owned
  • It is not for profit
  • It is run by high level of people’s participation both in the management and program production aspects.

The community can be a geographical one, (geographically determined), or a group of people who have common interests such as youth, women, drivers, farmers, fish mongers, ethnic groups, etc.

ASE supports and facilitates establishment and functioning of community radio stations in its program areas to create access for selected and timely issues which in one way or another influence the life of the target community. By helping the establishment of community radio stations, ASE contributes to the creation of an adequate and all round information access to the target community and influence their behaviour attitude, practice towards adapting sustainable livelihood action.

The station creates centre members of the community trust for exchange of information and ideas on matters related to life within the community. Community radio programmes, on various relevant topics with full participation of community members also offer a chance for active participation of people in the democratization process. It allows them to participate in the management and production of programmes becoming a means of expression of the community and enhances sustainable development. Such an active participation of community members also creates an opportunity to identify, publicize and familiarize local innovations within the community that are some how limited and restricted at the household level.

Community radio addresses human right issues through the right to information and communication. It serves as a plat form for debate, exchange of ideas and reactions to planned activities, projects, and also management of common resources. By accommodating ideas of community members it satisfies their spiritual and psychological well being. Hence, it plays a vital role in development and democratisation by enabling communities to articulate their experiences and critically examine opinions, issues, processes and policies affecting their lives. It educates and mobilises them around development initiatives and strategies that will result in a better life.

It also enables to effectively disseminate information on contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and population explosion in an acceptable manner based on the culture and context of the community.

Training/Learning Material Support

Training as a cross cutting function of ASE’s development interventions is     designed to have long lasting influence on the growth and development of target communities. Transfer of knowledge and skill through trainings is a vital process to ensure sustainability of development undertakings.

For training to be effective and easily absorbed, it has to be given in efficient and appropriate ways depending on the specific nature of the target group. It should also be supplemented and supported by relevant training materials as much as possible. Efficient use of relevant training materials at the right time assists both the trainer and the trainee. It makes the task much easier and less time consuming for the trainer. It also makes training activities more interesting, lively, easy to follow and understand for the trainee by helping him/her to visualize, practice, experience and internalize knowledge and skills delivered in the process.

It is with this assumption that ASE’s training activities need to be supported by relevant training materials.  ASE’s desire of becoming centre of excellence in community training requires enhancing its adult training capacity on various aspects of training including development and production of training materials.

Assessment on the status of training materials production and utilization

Though there were slight variations in the findings amongst the POs and in the responses of staffs at different ranks, a study on the status of training materials development, production and utilization within ASE reflected that training materials are not regularly used to support all the training activities . The practice and experience regarding the development, production and utilization of training materials in planned community training activities is more or less similar in all the program offices. Absence of training materials, irrelevance and inappropriateness of existing materials to topics at hand, and inconvenience for use (e.g. for illiterate participants) were said to be among the obstacles hindering trainers from effectively carrying out training sessions as required (Sebsibe 2008).

Inventory of materials in the POs and responses from staff reflected that trainers use materials obtained from external sources in some of their training sessions. In some cases materials obtained from other sources make up almost 50% of the total available. Most of the development agents, as in the case of Amaro and Bereh, use training materials from other sources despite the shortcomings associated with such a practice. The situation did not also allow utilization of a variety of training materials to exploit the inherent advantage of using each specific type. The availability of the materials also shows unfair proportion by type of training materials and by content areas treated in the materials, causing trainers to look for other sources (Ibid).

According to the result of the study, the possible reasons for not developing, producing and using training materials as required were:

  • Lack of attention to training material development and productions;
  • Lack of experience /Knowledge gap /  especially in the area of social science
  • Increased availability of teaching materials from other sources,
  • Inadequate attention and limited resources to upgrade the printing unit,
  • Utilizations of local vernaculars,
    • No contracting out of some functions (tasks) as required and not using  external resource persons (consultants) for developing and updating of training materials,
    • Change in the basic function of the organization from training to IFSP (organizational restructuring)


This situation, however, has to be averted if community training program, as major strategy in ASE’s development efforts, has to bring about the desired change. The Situation also requires a determined and concerted effort by all, both at the main office and program area offices, to result in a positive outcome.

Objectives of the Strategy document

Objectives  of the Strategy document

The basis for ASE’s education support program is its firm belief on the crucial role education plays in development.  Supporting and strengthening education of children and adults in target communities is a vital step to firmly fix development efforts in place. ASE’s education programs are therefore designed to provide adults with basic and life-based literacy and improve their level of awareness. It is to bring about positive attitudinal and behavioural change of the communities towards development and poverty alleviation and to create the opportunity for school age children that did not get the chance to go to school and help increase enrolment rate. This guideline is therefore designed to:
  • Create common understanding on ASE’s Community Education strategy among all staff members for competent discharge of responsibilities
  • To help answer such questions as what we are trying to do and how we are going to do in ASE’s education support programs.

Concept and Definitions

Some people associate education with schools only. Others perceive it as linked to the life and day to day activities of people. There are also others who prefer to describe it as related to content, approach/strategy and level. There are still many other ways people perceive and define education. Hence there is no single definition of education universally accepted by all educators. The definitions given differ and are based on the values and experiences attached to the practice. In fact, it may not be safe to assume that when people use the same words they perceive a situation in the same way.

Sometimes distinction is made between the purpose and the function of education. Transmission of knowledge is considered as the primary purpose, fundamental goal (end) of the process while transfer of knowledge to the real world that happens naturally as a consequence of possessing that knowledge is considered as a function of education. Functions are assumed to occur without much directed effort .On the other hand, more effort is made to attain the expressed goal, the purpose.

The Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary gives three literal definitions of education. As a process it defines it as (system of) training and instruction (esp. of children and young people in schools, colleges etc.) designed to give knowledge and develop skills; …. . As an outcome (product) it defines it as knowledge, abilities and the development of character and mental power that result from such training. The dictionary further defines education as a field of study dealing with how to teach.

Educators do not regard education as an activity confined to schools. Instead they see it as a varied process and an important tool in the life of man and his continuous struggle and interaction with the surrounding. They see it is an important instrument for change and development that has greatly contributed to the present achievement of mankind.

To further understand education as a process one may need to be clear about the Why, Whom, and How of education. The responses to such basic questions reflect: the purpose, aims and goals of education; help to identify the characteristic, and need of the learner, the organization, the method, administration and management of the process. The aim and goal of education are decisive and basic. Education with out clear aims and purposes lead to no where. In fact, education may be implemented in different ways, the basic aim of education, however, remains the same. It is to equip mankind with the necessary knowledge, skill and attitude that will enable him to properly understand himself and his surrounding and interact positively for a better life.

Hence, Education refers to activities which aim at developing the knowledge, skills, moral values and understanding that are required in all aspects of life. The major out put of education is to bring about attitudinal changes that may causes positive behavioural changes.

Types of Education

Traditionally education was linked mainly with established institutions. The idea of considering education outside the well structured school system emerged after a world wide educational crisis was reported in 1967. Unsuitable curricula, unparalleled educational and economic growths, failure of the educational inputs to cause the emergence of jobs and high costs for the expansion of education led for distinction to be made within education (Fordham, 1993). Furthermore, the move in UNESCO towards lifelong education (UNESCO, 1972:182) and the concept of lifelong learning shaped educational systems and led to the categorization of learning systems as Formal, Non-formal and Informal.

Formal education

As normally used, the term formal education refers to the structured educational system provided by the state for children. It is the process of training and developing people in knowledge, skills, mind, and character in a structured and certified program through a formal approach and somewhat rigid curriculum and time table. It is the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded ‘education system’ running from primary school through the university offering general academic studies and a variety of specialized programs and institutions for full–time technical and professional training.

Non-formal education

Non-formal education refers to education, which takes place outside of the formally organized school. It is any organized educational activity outside the established formal system that is intended to serve identifiable learning groups and learning objectives.

The appreciation and acceptance of Non-formal education to have the potentials of making significant contributions is based on its characteristics like:

  • Relevance to the needs of disadvantaged groups
  • Concern with specific categories of person
  • A focus on clearly defined purposes and
  • Flexibility in organization and methods associated with the approach (Fordham, 1993).

Programs and undertakings that are categorized under non-formal education comprise literacy and basic education for adults and young people, ‘catching- up’ programs for school drop outs, preschool education for young children, and various kinds of education (work-linked) with development initiatives including agricultural extension and training programs and health education. There are also various examples of vocational training and rural development programs that could be labelled as non formal education program (The McGivney and Murray 1992).

In the non-formal way of learning, the learning is more purposefully and deliberately designed to meet needs that arise as one faces new situations with new challenges.

Informal education

The truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experiences and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media. Informal education may also include an intentionally planned learning for some targets to learn on the part of the provider.  This conscious intent to promote learning on the part of the provider may not necessarily be the case on the part of the learner.

The distinction made between the types of education is largely administrative. Formal education is linked with schools and training institutions; Non-formal with community groups and other organizations; and informal covers the rest like interactions with friends, family, work colleagues etc.  The definitions however, do not imply hard and fast categories, as there may be some overlap between informal and non-formal education (Fordham 1993).

The following table shows a comparison between formal and non-formal education in terms of purposes, timing, delivery systems and control.

deal-type models of formal and non-formal education
formal non-formal

Long-term & general


Short-term & specific



long cycle /

preparatory / full-time

short cycle / recurrent /


  • standardized / input centred
  • academic
  • entry requirements determine clientele
  • individualized / output centred
  • practical
  • clientele determine entry requirements
delivery system
  • Institution-based, isolated from environment.
  • rigidly structured, teacher-centred and resource intensive
  • Environment-based, community related.
  • flexible, learner-centred and resource saving
control external / hierarchical

self-governing /


(Adapted by Fordham 1993 from Simkins 1977: 12-15)

Community Education

There could be different concepts associated with the term “Community Education “. The fourth International Conference of the International Community Education Association (ICEA) held in 1983 described Community Education as “an educational philosophy and a means to bring about constructive educational and social changes, which in turn affect the world’s political, social and economic structures”. According to participants of the conference, the goals of community education are to raise the consciousness and enhance the initiative of people in solving their problems in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination. It is to stimulate people individually and collectively to use and develop the process and resources of education as a means of personal and community development.

Community education, as an educational process, is based on the needs, distinctiveness and aspirations of the community and relies on the involvement of the community members in the educational process and planning and implementation of the program for the community. It is an educational activity carried out with the community using its resources and institutions to meet its educational and developmental needs. A critical component of community education is therefore the involvement /participation /of the community on determining educational activities relevant to its needs. This has to involve commitment, co-operation and collaboration of all concerned to acquire the necessary resources.

Community education is regarded primarily as a means for contributing to the empowerment of the people in terms of knowledge, skills and awareness so that people take full command of their lives and the future of their community. People must therefore practice community education according to their history and experience and to the end that education for all will relate to the issues of everyday life and to the betterment of individual and social life.

Community education, as a unique education concept therefore, embraces the beliefs that:

  • Education is a lifelong process
  • Everyone in the community – individuals, businesses, public and private agencies- share the responsibilities for the mission of education including all members of the community ; and
  • Citizens have a right and responsibility to be involved in determining community needs, identifying community resources, and linking those needs and resources to improve their community.

Characteristics of Community Education

Characteristics of Community Education

Basically Community Education is characterized by:

  • Citizen involvement in community problem solving and decision making usually through community councils;
  • Development and implementation of lifelong learning opportunities for learners of all ages, background and needs;
  • Use of community resources in the schooling/education curriculum;
  • Opportunities for parents to become involved in the learning process of their children and the life of the school;
  • Optimum use of public education facilities by people of all ages in the community;
  • Co-ordination and collaboration among agencies and institutions to deliver educational, social, economic, recreational, and cultural services to all members of the community;
  • Partnership with business , industry and schools to enhance the learning climate; and Utilization of volunteers to enhance the delivery of community services.

Importance of Community Education

Community education has a number of benefits. It results in:

  • A responsive education system and an improved learning climate in the schools
  • Efficient and cost- effective ways of delivering education and community services;
  • Broad- based community support for schools and other community agencies;
  • An emphasis on special populations , such as at-risk youth and minorities;
  • And collective action among all educational and community agencies to address quality of life issues.

Generally community education refers to educational activities that give opportunities for personal and community development, usually without being directed by a set of curricula. Activities may be based in an institution or in the community. They may be formal or informal

Education and Development

Education is an important tool for mankind to understand, properly interact, and change its surrounding making it a more favourable and suitable place to live and reproduce. For the child, education is an early age preparation for a future long and decent life and for the adult it is a means for improved livelihood and well-being.

A development effort cannot attain its desired goal in a more tangible and sustainable manner without considering education as its spearhead strategy and a major component of its program in one way or another. Education does not only lead to materialize development goals but also help to realize it within a relatively short period of time. This is mainly because an educated person / community / is in a better situation to easily grasp development ideas and consciously and effectively practice it at a relatively faster rate. More generally education could be seen as a continuous and lifelong process that stem from the day to day interaction and experiences. The process is also equated with that of a development process. One can not therefore conceive development in the absence of education.

Education in ASE context

Education in all its types is relevant to ASE. Nevertheless, the organization gives more emphasis to the non-formal type of education. The involvement of ASE in the formal sector is mainly limited to building the capacity of the educators, infrastructure development and creating enabling environment for the learners. Non-Formal Education in ASE refers to the various types of learning processes that are purposefully planned and organized by the CBI and ASE based on the priority needs of the targeted community members.

The programs are basically to be designed and implemented in collaboration and full participation of the CBI (community) and Woreda Office of Education. The Planned activities are carried out through detailed implementation procedures like sensitization of community members, creation of linkages with relevant stakeholders, capacity building including relevant trainings offered to those involved in the process (facilitators, parent committees, CBI leaders, and others involved in the educational activities in the area). Just like the other development programs of ASE, education support programs also give due attention to the disadvantaged community members.

Situation analysis

According to the 2007 National census, the population of Ethiopia is 73.9 Million. 83.8% of this total population lives in the rural part of the country and earns its living from subsistence agriculture (FDRE, Population Census Commission, 2008). The country is one of the poorest in the world with per capita income not exceeding 100 USD. About 44% of the population lives below the poverty line (MOE, ESDP III , 2005)

A report released in March 2010 by the ministry of Education, indicates that out of 16.5 million primary school age (7-14) children, 15.5 million (47.3%F) were enrolled in formal primary schools in 2008/09. Out of this, 10,588,652 (47.4%F) were enrolled in the 1st cycle while 4,964,490 (47%F) were enrolled in the 2nd cycle.

The gross enrolment rate (GER) at primary level was 94.2% (90.7%F and 97.6%M) and Net enrolment rate was 83% (81.3%F; 84.6%M). Net enrolment rates for the 1st (1-4) and 2nd (5-8) cycles were 88.7% and 46.0% respectively. The statistics shows that there is a rapid increase in school age population with a significant rise (4.8AAGR) in the 11-14 age groups. This actually causes difficulty in maintaining primary general enrolment rate.

GER for primary school (1 to 8) also shows some disparities by region and gender with higher overall GER for some regions and low for others. In 2008/09 the gender gap in terms of GER of boys and girls shows enrolment of girls falling behind by about 6.9 percentage point. At national level the Gender Parity Index for primary level was 0.93 (GPI closer to 1 shows equality in enrolment between boys and girls while 0 indicates the highest disparity).

The statistics also shows that gap exists in the NER at primary level between regions. Some regions- Amhara (102.2%), Tigray (96.9%), Benshangul Gumuz (88.6%), Harari (91.9%), SNNPRS (89.4%) rank high for 2008/09 while Afar (24.4%) and Somali (31.6%) regions remain quite low in net enrolment ratios. This suggests that remedial measures are needed. A comparison of rural and urban enrolment indicates that 80.2% of primary enrolment (regular, evening & ABE) was accounted for by rural areas and 19.8% by urban. For secondary (9-10), urban enrolment is 89.4% and rural enrolment was only 10.6% (MOE, Annual Abstract 2008/09). One may, however, be obliged to consider the big size of the rural population before concluding on the fairness of the distribution even at the primary level.

The total enrolment in secondary education (Grades 9 to 12) for 2008/09 was 1,589,585 (40.16% F). Out of this, 1,382,325 (41.9%F) and 205,260 (28.6%F) were enrolled in the 1st (9-10) and 2nd (11-12) cycles respectively.

The Gross enrolment rate for secondary education for the period was 22.6% (38.1% for the 1st cycle and 6.0% for the 2nd cycle. The net enrolment rate for secondary education was 13.5% and 2.8% for the 1st and 2nd cycles respectively. The Gender Parity for the 1st and 2nd cycles of secondary education for the period was 0.74 and 0.41 respectively.

The overall literacy rate in Ethiopia in 1999/00 was only 29.4%. Here again the urban literacy was 70.4% compared to the very low 21.8% in the rural population. (MOFED, 2002 as cited in Education for Rural People in Ethiopia: working document, 2005). Illiteracy among male and female population also shows a gap both in the urban and rural settings favouring the male.

The Government was forced to consider “Alternative Routes to Basic Education” since 2000 in order to increase access and narrow the gaps and as a means to achieve UPE by the year 2015. ABE was therefore given attention in the government’s education program (ESDP II). ABE enrolments have been included in reporting of regular education since 2005/06 and as a result GER and NER reflect the contributions of ABE education. For example, enrolment in ABE by gender for 2008/09 shows 780,342 (422,512M; 357,830F). The GER in the ABE program for the 1st cycle primary is 5% for both sexes (7% for females & 8.2% for males). ABE has contributed additional 5 to 6 percent coverage to the GER for primary education from 2003/04 – 2005/06.

Communities, community-based organizations and NGOs were also encouraged to expand the provision of secular basic primary education through ABECs in different localities to reach the un-reached children.
Adult and Non Formal Education, which was not given due attention by the government until recently, has three sub-components: a program for out-of-school children with 7-14 years of age, literacy program for those youth and adults whose age are above 15, and offering basic skill training to youth and adults in the community skill training centres.
Components of ASE’s Education Strategy

There are five major components of ASE’s Education strategies. These are:

Children Education (Appropriate, Cost effective Centres of

Education with in the School System- ACCESS;

Formal School Support)

Adult literacy program

Radio Education-REFORM,

Distance Education and

Training /Teaching materials support

Children Education

Children Education Aim

To support CBIs initiatives and help them create and ensure that children get access to primary education.

The community, through the CBI, will be managing and running children education program based on their priority needs and subsequent plan. ASE’s support which could be through capacity development and technical assistance could be offered based on the request that may come from the CBIs.

ASE will respond to the CBIs initiatives on children education-ACCESS and /or formal school support- by providing capacity building activities and through required resource and technical assistance. This effort will help the community to create the opportunity for the schooling of children in the remote and marginalized communities where ASE works.

Adult Literacy Aim

To produce literate community members who can actively and consciously participate in the development interventions. It is to create functionally literate, as related to their livelihood and well being, community members.

As indicated earlier, ASE’s adult literacy program is implemented as Livelihood Based Literacy (LBL) and is one component of ASE’s Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) Strategy. The detailed procedure of implementing LBL is given on ASE’s PLA strategy document and will not be treated here.

Reading rooms

Reading rooms play a significant role to broaden and sustain literacy. They encourage literate farmers to develop the habit of reading and help them to improve their reading and writing skills. Provision of reading materials on relevant topics to the life of the adults such as health, child rearing, birth control, personal hygiene, sanitation, communicable disease and deficiency diseases, etc. will be helpful. Assisting CBIs in their effort to have reading rooms with relevant reading materials and audio visual items will be of significance importance and will therefore be highly recommended.

Radio Education for Rural Mass (REFORM)

ASE’s REFORM activities are to be realized through Community radio stations and/or through networking with local radio stations


Radio Education is to influence the attitude and behaviour of community members and to help improve their livelihood by providing information on wide range of relevant issues.

Community Radio

ASE will initiate the establishment of community radio as a means of communication essentially run to serve the community. Its role ranges from creating the awareness within the community to the final installation and transmission of programs including project document preparation, fund soliciting, construction of station, purchasing of equipment, training of staff and transmission.

Awareness creation on the idea of community radio and its significant importance to the community will be done until it is well understood and appreciated by the community at grass roots level so that it will have a broad mass base which would be determined to make it a reality.

Local governments are expected to fully support community radio initiatives as additional input with a significant contribution to the development effort of the local communities. The support of the local government may include   allocation of appropriate site for the construction of the radio station, backing in the construction of the studios, and offering of all other supports and recommendations which could be prerequisites for the formation and legalization of the broadcast association and submission of the license and frequency. External supports, however, should not influence the functions and mission of the station.


Management of the day to day activities of the radio station will mainly be the responsibility of the Management Committee. Project officers in the Program Offices will be involved in the process to help and ensure smooth running of the station in general and specific programmes related to their field in particular.

The over all organizational structure will include:

  • The Annual General Meeting of the community (AGM)
  • Board of Management
  • The management committee
  • The Station Manager
  • The Programme Committee
  • The staff /volunteer and employed

Community Involvement & Participation

In order to reflect the interest of the community the station serves, there will be a direct involvement of the community in the management and activities of the station. The CBI,   as part of the community, participate in the over all administration and functioning of the station representing its members.

The community   will   play   an   active role in   the   election of its representatives who work with the Board of Management of the radio station. ASE will assist the communities to have a legally registered community radio Association.

The leadership takes decisions in between Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be the supreme decision making forum. The leadership will therefore represent interest of the community in the day to day running of the station activities and ensures that policies guiding the daily management are developed and that they reflect the interest of the community that the station serves.

A volunteers group recruited from the community including ASE’s program office staff form the management committee and will plan programming, production, gathering of NEWS sources, provide management backup and contributes towards policy-making and development planning. The station manager who could be a volunteer or an employed staff will be in charge of the day to day activities of the station. The program committee which will be established based on the type of programs to be produced (e.g. NEWS, sports, development, etc.) Will be responsible for the production and transmission of programs and are volunteers from the community. The Board of management will over see these activities of the groups.

There could also be identifiable groups / listeners club/ who will participate in the programmes, decide on content, transmission time, critique programming and also suggest program ideas. They will be assisted to be organized and form radio forums and follow programmes on specific items based on their interest. ASE facilitates all possibilities which help them own radio sets through loan systems.

As a strong force of development, that has an important role in the community; participation of women in the functioning of the radio station will be highly encouraged. This will be materialised through the representation of women in the management committee of the station. Women will also be encouraged to participate in programme productions. There will also be programmes particularly targeted to women and addressing gender and women right issues within the community.

Capacity Building (Training)

Community radio stations are run mainly by the participation of volunteers from the community who do not usually have the exposure to the media as is the case in most communities. It should therefore be a priority to give due consideration to the training of volunteers on all aspects of program production from the very beginning. ASE will organize and give the required training on management, program production and technical aspects to ensure smooth functioning of the stations.

Areas of training for the management and the different aspects program production in a community radio station will be identified and a training guide will be prepared.  Initial training in program production techniques and other technical aspects of production will be given /organized in collaboration with well established radio stations. Trainees will be attached to a radio station for a practical training which could last for not more than about two weeks. Once the radio station is functional then in house workshop will be organized from time to time to train as many volunteers as possible. A staff member will be identified and well trained to be in a position to give in house training from time to time as the need arises.

Financial sustainability

ASE will look for all positive means to ensure that the project budget covers operational cost (major costs to run the station) for the first two to three years in addition to the investment cost of the station. The station will therefore have ample time and will have also accumulated enough experience, to be in a position to fulfil its financial needs and run its activities smoothly afterwards.

The running costs of the radio station are therefore expected to be secured through:

  • Commercial advertisings
  • Social announcements
  • Fund raising events
  • Donations from funding agencies
  • Community members  and membership fees
  • Sponsorship of programmes

However, the necessary care should be taken not to allow the station to be dictated and influenced by donors or advertisers.

Institutional sustainability

Full and active participation of members of the community from the very initial stage of development of the project ensures sustainability. This will be further strengthened through efforts put into empowering the local people to run the station and will be materialised through training, development of adequate management policy, balancing skill development, and by maintaining volunteer involvement.

To create the capacity for community members to actively participate in the management, technical and programme production aspects of the Community Radio Station, training will therefore be conducted on management of community radio, production of program, technical skills and operating and maintenance of equipment as indicated above.

Monitoring & Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation

Utilization of programmes will be monitored twice a year. Randomly selected listeners and radio forum members will be interviewed for their opinions, comments and suggestions on the different programmes and their formats. The information gathered will be used to help improve quality and relevance of programmes, to make necessary changes on timing of transmission, duration of programs, changes on program formats and inclusion of new series of programs.

The smooth and efficient running of the station will further be monitored and evaluated through progress and annual reports. Contribution of the radio station for improved life condition in the community will be assessed through impact evaluation that will be carried out at the end of the project period.

Local Radio Networking

In program areas where there is local radio coverage, ASE will enter a partnership agreement with the radio station or with concerned bodies to transmit radio program on relevant development issues to the target communities.  ASE will determine the content (topical) areas to be treated in the series, the production format and the time of transmission so that the target community makes the most out of the radio programs.

The programs which could be transmitted weekly or fortnightly will have 15 to 20 minutes duration and a series of programs for 6 or 12 months depending on the agreement made. Emphasis will be made to make the programs interactive and listeners encouraged to fully participating in the programs. Arrangements could be made to award individuals and listening forums that actively participate in the radio programs.

Partnership with local radio stations will be expected to continue even after phasing out of ASE’s development program from the area.  Just like the other development activities, the CBI is expected to take over and continue with the partnership to transmit programs to the target community.

ASE sponsored programs are expected to influence program production formats of the stations. As the programs also cover wider areas, they therefore serve a dual purpose of disseminating knowledge and also help promote and introduce works of ASE to the wider public.

Distance Education

As indicated above, ASE wants to start over distance education program as a way to disseminate knowledge and skill among literate farmers.


The aim of offering distance education is to provide opportunities for literate farmers to acquire knowledge and skill in advanced, task oriented and sustainable agricultural production techniques applicable to their livelihood.

Target Group

Targets will be literate male and female farmers who want to improve their livelihood by improving and upgrading their producing capacity and by acquiring new and higher level of production skill while still on their job. Prisoners with farming background left with only a few years (3-5 years) to serve in the prison are also possible targets. Targets will be identified by ASE staff (PO & HQ), WARDO and the respective prison administration.

Training Courses

Training includes production courses /animal and crop/ that will enable farmers to know all the necessary duties and tasks on specific kinds of agricultural productions. These courses provide the trainees with a practical guideline for action and enable them to perform the job without much difficulty.

Preparation of training modules

The training modules will be prepared in the local language of trainees / targets / based on the assumption that the materials will provide the learner a practical guideline for action. A number of training modules will be prepared in the area of crop and livestock production and module writers will be trained on the concepts and principles of writing task oriented and duty mined modules for adults using techniques of writing for a distance learner.  ASE staff and/or invited professionals from out side will take part in the preparation of the modules.

Apart from the production courses, some modules on sustainable agriculture and land use systems will be included.  This course will be offered as a pre-requisite to the production courses.  Basic concepts of sustainable land management and sustainable agriculture will be used to prepare such modules.

All candidate trainees have to finish this course (on sustainable agriculture) successfully before being accepted as regular trainees.  Therefore, following the introductory course an entrance exam will be provided in all centres to identify the right target group.    The purpose of the entrance exam will be to know the reading and understanding ability of the learners and to predict their ability to follow the subsequent courses.

Delivery of the materials  

Materials prepared for the training purposes will be distributed to targets through Farmer Training Centres (FTCs), where they are functional, or through other selected sites in the Wereda. The Wereda Agriculture and Rural Development Office (WARDO) select centres from among the FTCs in the Wereda for distribution of training materials. Targets are expected to collect the materials from these centres located at sites easily accessible to all in the Wereda. For participants in the prisons, materials will be distributed through the coordinator of the centre within the prison administration. Schedules indicating time/dates of delivery, items to be despatched and to whom they will be despatched will be prepared.

Audiovisual materials will support the distance training courses offered to the farmers. Video materials produced on each of the training areas will be used to support the distance training of the farmers.

Examinations & Certification

Examinations and Certification

A complete training programme on either animal or crop production courses will take a period of nine months. Each of them will have three courses and each course three modules (a module a month). There will also be a three months course on Sustainable Agriculture. The first 3 months of the year will therefore be used for sustainable land use course and entrance examination and the subsequent 9 months will be used to provide production courses on either plant or animal production. Evaluation will be conducted at the end of each course on the third month.

Coordinators at the Wereda Agriculture and Rural Development Office (WARDO) and Prison Administration will be responsible to organise examinations. The examinations, which will be prepared by Community Education at the head office, will finally be administered in the presence of representatives from the main office. Assessments/ Evaluation at the end of each module will be the responsibility of the centres.

Marking of exam papers will be done at the head office. Those who have successfully completed the training programme will be awarded certificates signed by the Executive Director of ASE and the respective Wereda Agriculture and Rural Development Office (WARDO) Head or Head of the Prison Administration as found appropriate.  A farmer who wishes to be trained in both crop and animal production courses will be expected to complete the two years training programme. Community Education unit at the Main Office will prepare detailed guidelines for the management of examinations and outcomes (results) of examinations.

Organization, Management and Support Service

Distance education requires well-organized arrangement with regard to its structural elements and academic and management functions that enable a continuous two- way flow of information between the program centre and the trainee (Quane, 1989). For the easy contact of trainees and efficient management of the distance training programme, the programme areas will be divided into regions. Each will have a coordinating centre which functions as a liaison between the main office and the centres in the training programme area.

In each of the centres where the distance education courses are offered a committee will be formed and coordinates and runs the training program. Formal agreement has to be made between ASE, WARDO, and the prison administration as required

The program area centres co-ordinate and supervise the training programme and the activities of all the study centres. The planning and management of tutorials, counselling and practical sessions in all the centres of each area and accommodations /space/, both for offices and study centres, installation of necessary furniture and equipment, maintenance of records of trainees, etc., will be the responsibility of the coordinating body which will have a full support from the respective Wereda Agriculture and Rural Development Office (WARDO)

As the study centres are the immediate contact points for the trainees, management of these study centres will be crucial to the successful completion of the training courses. Tutors maintain the personal contact with the trainees. The tutorial and counselling sessions are supervised and co-ordinated by area program co-ordinators. The assignment of the tutors /centre co-ordinators is made through the Wereda Agriculture and Rural Development Office (WARDO). The tutor /counsellor /will follow the personal profile of each trainee attached to him in the centre. Documents /records of trainees will be properly kept by the tutors/coordinators at each of the study centres. They will be provided with all the necessary facilities to carry out their functions.

The responsibility of the tutor also include such activities as preparing and facilitating a face-to-face (on to one) interaction with the learner, planning a group tutorial with clear aims and objectives and appropriate activities, choosing and facilitating learner-centred activities that meet objectives for group tutorials and evaluating a tutorial to determine whether the learning outcomes specified were achieved.

The personal contact between tutors and trainees will be maintained throughout the training period. The purpose of the tutorial being to support learners with the courses, the number of tutorials for each module/course will be decided by the tutor and the learners based on the objective reality.  A training guide for tutors will be prepared by Community Education at the head office and the necessary training will be given to those who will be serving as tutors to help them acquire the skill required.

Assignments will be given as major components of each course in the training program to ensure proper follow up and continuous assessment of trainees. The study centres undertake this activity and the assignment responses will be evaluated by the tutors. Data concerning results and comments on assignment works will be properly documented at the centres and will finally be considered as part of the evaluation process to support results of the final course examinations.

Study centres will also be used to arrange tutorial, counselling and practical field works for the training courses. The study centres will offer facilities for trainees to listen to or view audio-video cassettes and recorded programmes. Adequate library with some relevant reading materials and recorded cassettes will be arranged at the study centres.

Training /Learning Material Support AIM 

To link trainings with practical implementations in all the courses offered and to help enrich and support the training activities.

Development and production

The different bodies in the structure of ASE should have a clear role and responsibility to enable a continuous and efficient development, production and utilization of training materials to support training program of adults. Accordingly each stake holder in the structure is expected to assume the following responsibilities:

The program offices

The Program offices should:

  • Create awareness among staff members on the importance of training materials as a support to training activities and build up their determination to the process of developing and using training aids.
  • Give due attention to material development, production and utilization. Link the work of material development and production with the other functions of the PO making it a planned and scheduled activity and also design a mechanism to make certain that training materials are used in every training session as required.
  • Closely work with the Head Office with regard to the development and production of training materials.
  • Build the capacity of development facilitators, VLDPs and others who are involved in community training on the selection and utilization of appropriate training methods and materials.
  • Encourage staff to be engaged in participatory material development
  • Make sure that materials are pre-tested before they are produced and put to use in large numbers.
  • Formally assign responsible person/unit to follow and coordinate the process of development and production of training materials.
  • Carry out periodic assessment on the impact of training materials in training programs.
  • Facilitate and encourage translation of training materials into the local language as required.
  • Ensure that all experts at PO level   have some basic ideas/skills on adult learning materials, assessment of needs and pre-testing.

Community Learning and Capacity Development Officer

  • As a focal person, should take the responsibility of coordinating and facilitating training materials development, production and proper utilization in the PO.
  • Mobilize the staff and create a platform for them to take part in participatory production of materials and to comment on developed  materials
  • Create strong link with the Head Office for technical assistance in the development and production of training materials.
  • Provide guidance and needed assistance to other officers in the identification of relevant and appropriate training materials and in the preparation process.
  • Organize and facilitate training / workshops / and experience sharing visits as required in the area of training material development and production.
  • Carry out systematic and frequent monitoring visits to development /training centres, appropriately document and share results.

Other Project Officers 

  • Have to shoulder the responsibility of training materials development and consistently follow up the production and utilization process.  They have to encourage and assist field staff to develop materials by providing technical inputs in their respective areas of competence.
  • Have to assume responsibilities/roles in pre-testing the draft training materials and reviewing, the final versions, and intermittent reviews on the utilization, giving useful comments/feedback information or opinions for improvement of materials.

The HQ staff

  • Support by organizing and giving the required training and refreshment courses regarding development and production of training materials and by arranging exposure visits
  • Should design effective follow up mechanism and Conduct regular monitoring in the progress of training material development and utilization in the POs
  • The Program Support Department should sensitise and help raise awareness of the PO staff on the importance of using training aids in training programs.
  • In collaboration with the PO, recognize and reward the efforts of those who are making significant contribution in material production and utilization.
  • Organize workshops and displays and produce inventory of training materials to provide information on what is available in ASE’s printing stock and also facilitate exchange of experiences among POs.
  • Establish a mechanism to update existing and old training materials through systematic and regular review of the relevance and usefulness of the materials.
  • Up grade the capacity of the printing and audiovisual production centre to produce quality audiovisual and printing materials that meet the demand of program offices.
  • Program officers at the main office should assume responsibility and fully participate and support material development and production efforts of POs in their respective areas of competence.

Additional tips

  • Care should be taken when using externally produced (developed) training materials as they may be out of context and not related to specific local situation.
  • Too many groups and too many topics in training programs negatively influence effectiveness of trainings. It is therefore believed that reducing size of groups and topics treated to a reasonable and manageable size and carrying out training activities in a continuous manner helps to make training effective.
  • Inherent advantage of using the different types of materials should be given due consideration when planning for development of materials.
  • It is becoming evident that ASE lacks materials on specific local issues particularly for general awareness trainings. It is therefore essential to give attention to local concerns and produce relevant and appropriate materials.
  • Motivation on the side of the trainees is an important factor for the successful implementation of training programs. Presentations through such attractive approaches as dramas, pictorial presentations, and audiovisual materials are considered to be among the motivating factors. Making content as relevant as possible to the context is also an important motivational factor. Occasional Participation of Project officers, as new faces, in the actual training activities (sessions) could also motivate trainees.
  • Materials to be developed need to suit the level of literacy of the target groups.
  • Regional variations need to be acknowledged and taken into account in material development – languages, cultural settings, etc.

Selecting training materials

Training materials can be categorised based on the nature of the materials. Print (and duplicated) materials include booklets, handouts, posters, flipcharts and brochure (leaflets), charts photographic prints, etc. Some of these materials are non-projected display materials. There are also still projected display materials (slides, filmstrips, microfilms) audio materials (radio broadcasts, audiotapes/ audiocassettes, etc,) and visual materials 16 & 32 mm films, broadcasting television, video tape recordings, etc. There are also computer based training materials (database systems, interactive video program and different kinds of packages.  Field trips, visits and resource persons could also be inputs in training activities.

Each of the above training aid has its own characteristic feature that makes it different and preferable to the other. For instance posters/flipcharts are preferred with illiterate trainees and for group training purposes. Booklets provide more information to literate farmers and may also serve development facilitators as reference materials. To be effective, however, they should be written in simple language understandable to the farmers and should be supported by pictures. On the other hand, Leaflets can be produced on topical issues in large quantities to address many of the rural community members and other interested individuals.

The study showed that training materials with pictorial representations are those that were mostly used by the trainers.  Trainees also preferred training aids that allow perception through all the senses (seeing, hearing & feeling) as much as possible. They also appreciated the unique nature of each type of material in supporting training and insisted that all types be made available for use as on type complement with the other.

Each type of training material may therefore be used to support training activities despite the method of training implemented. It will however be necessary to select the appropriate training aid based on the objective of the training and the subject matter/course at hand.  Some times two or more types of training aids may equally serve the purpose of a training program. A trainer should therefore be clever enough to use the cheaper and easily accessible training aids rather than looking for the expensive and inaccessible ones.

Preparing one’s own training aid

When there are no training materials that could be used directly or that could be adapted for a particular training event, the only option will therefore be to prepare once own training aid. In fact it is always a better alternative to have once own training materials developed contextually.

Preparation of training materials has to be initiated at the program office. The draft copy material should then be handed over to the Program Support Department at the head office for possible editorial works and some professional inputs and graphic works that may be required. Program Support Department will make the necessary arrangements and follow up of the publishing tasks.  Every training material produced should, however, be pre-tested before being produced in large copies.

Audio Visual Materials

Commonly used audio visual training materials in ASE training activities are limited to radio broadcast materials, recorded audio cassette and video programs.

Radio broadcast materials are a relatively recent phenomenon that are practiced in collaboration with local radio station. The materials which are produced on relevant timely issues and in appropriate production formats were transmitted to targets who follow the programs individually and in groups (listeners groups).

Objectives, contents, and even production formats of the programs are identified and decided by ASE to keep their relevance as much as possible. The programs are expected to be interactive with question and answer sessions and also influence program production experience of the stations.

Audio Cassettes/ recorded programs

In the early days, Rural Radio forums were used to communicate extension messages to project participants.  The materials have greatly contributed to ASE’s training activities though there were some problems regarding the utilization and handling of the tape recorders.

From September 2003 until the productions were interrupted at the end of 2008, CTA Rural Radio Resource Pack materials produced on different issues were dubbed and sent out to the POs for use.  Assessment of the situation at the program offices has shown that the materials are not used for training activities in most of the POs. The materials are believed to provide PO staff with knowledge and experience on wide range of issues and if properly used could also be relevant input to the training offered and hence due attention should be given to their utilization.

On the other hand, copies of radio programs produced and transmitted in collaboration with local radio stations, could be used for training purposes. Important topical areas presented in the radio programs may be used as discussion points in COLF sessions. As these radio programs are produced in different formats such as drama, short stories, poems, interviews etc, they are attractive enough to hook listeners. The programs are also in compliance with the community’s culture, values and norms.


Video is a powerful stimulus to communication in training programs. As an important learning aid, helps the learner by providing new experiences through images. The combination of variety, interest and entertainment we can derive from video makes it an aid, which can help develop motivation in learners and trainees. It can fulfil basic educational / training purposes concerning attitude and appreciations. It could bring trainees in to contact with the wider interest of mankind and the human and social side of the course in a more realistic way.

Video creates a good opportunity to effectively disseminate knowledge and information on currently important issues like HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, population, Agriculture, Natural resource management, Institution building and other innovative development approaches within a relatively short period of time over a wider area without the need to bring targets to one centre.  It can also be used and referred at user’s convenience once it is made available.

So far, however, very little attempt was made by ASE to use educational videos for training purposes but the impacts of these attempts have witnessed that if it is organized well this method is among the best information communication mechanisms with great potential to influence community behaviours towards bringing desirable changes.

Video for training

The aim of using video is to enhance information communication by disseminating knowledge and information on important development and contemporary issues to trainees and community members. It is also to use the inherent advantage of the medium for staff capacity building for better and quality service in community development interventions. Gender responsive video materials and the direct participation of men and women in the programs as actors and even as producers will help to ensure gender balance and equity in ASE development interventions.

Video for Experience exchange

Video is also an ideal medium for exchange of experience among the program offices. ASE has been organizing a number of programmed visits as an approach to help representatives share experiences. Participants were also known to have gained from the visits. The characteristic nature of video makes it very suitable to serve the same purpose. With increased number of program areas located far apart in different parts of the country, video programs produced on exemplary work of one area would easily be shown to participants in other areas for encouragement and motivation.

Video for Documentation

Video for Documentation

Exemplary works of ASE need to be recorded and properly documented. The works could also be shared with others – CRDA member NGOs, government offices and other development enhancing organizations – for experience exchange purposes. Through the production unit ASE creates an opportunity for a large number of CRDA member NGOs and government offices to share experience through productions that will be kept in the resource centre of CRDA.

Viewing centre and video show

Utilization of video materials for training and experience exchange at the POs and development centres requires availability of a power source. The program areas and development centres, however, are located in rural Ethiopia and do not have electric power supply. In spite of  this fact  however,  program offices are expected to have a viewing centre with  all necessary facilities (VCR,   TV set, etc.,)  ready for training purposes at least at sites where development facilitators and project participants regularly follow video materials produced on various development activities. The installation of generators, as an alternative source of energy, will not only be expensive but also need running cost, which includes cost of fuel, maintenance and salary for operator. Solar energy, on the other hand, is seen as a better alternative as it does not incur too much cost once installed. Training on the utilization of the facilities and, as the need arises, on the production of video materials will be given to ASE staff.


  1. Agri Service Ethiopia (2010). Strategy plan for 2010-2015. Addis Ababa
  2. Agri Service Ethiopia ( March/April, 1986). Joint Evaluation of Non-formal Adult Education Training Program (1983-1985). Agri Servie Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. Ayalew Shibeshi, (2005).  Education for Rural People in Ethiopia, Working Document, Ministerial Seminar on Education for Rural Development in Africa: Policy lessons, Options and Priorities, hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, 7-9 September 2005, Addis Ababa,
  4. Combs, P.H. with Prosser, C. and Ahmed, M. (1973). New paths to learning for Rural Children and Youth, New York: International Council for Educational Development.
  5. Ministry of Education (August 2005).Education Sector Development Program III (ESDP III) 2005/2006 – 2010/2011 (1998 EFY – 2002 EFY), Addis Ababa
  6. Faundez (1988).  In McGivney, V. and Murray, F. (1991). Adult Education in Development. Methods and Approaches form Changing Societies, Leicester: NIACE.
  7. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Population Census Commission (Dec.2008). Summary and Statistical Report of the 2007 Population and Housing Census. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  8. Fordham , P.E.(1993) ‘informal, non-formal and formal education programs’ in YMCA George William C ICE301/lifelong learning unit 2,London: YMCA George William College
  9. Ministry of Education (March 2010). Education Statistics Annual Abstract 2001E.C/ 2008-09G.C./ Education Management Information System, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  10. Sebsibe Sema (2008). Agri Service Ethiopia: The Status of Training Materials Development, Production and Utilization. Agri Service Ethiopia. Unpublished
  11. The Fourth International Conference of the International Community Education Association, 1983
  12. The Mc Givney and Murray (1992) collection, Adult Education in Development
  13. UNESCO (1972). Learning to Be (Prepared by Faure, al), Paris: UNESCO

Contact Address

Addis Ababa P.O.BOX 2460 Ethiopia
Phone: +251 114 65 12 12
Fax: +251 114 65 40 88