Challenging the orthodoxy of literacy: realities of moving from personal to community empowerment through Reflect in Ghana

Author: Tagoe, Michael

Source: International Journal of Lifelong Education, Volume 27, Number 6, November 2008 , pp. 707-728(22)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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In the last decade, the Reflect approach—an alternative to the 'great divide' theory of literacy—has gained wider currency in developing countries because of its ability to deal with social, cultural and political issues by placing the identification and solution of local problems in the hands of local people. In Ghana, ActionAid International Ghana (AAIG) has supported Reflect in the Upper East, Northern, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions. An evaluation of the literacy circles showed that whilst women's self-efficacy had increased since joining the literacy circles, the progression from personal to community empowerment has been very slow as communities still perceive AAIG as the 'donor' and the communities as 'recipients' of funds, rather than become empowered to demand accountability from district assemblies for development projects. Fewer opportunities have been created by communities to facilitate wider socio-economic change where they could use the PRA as a tool to assert their right to development.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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