February 3, 2016

Training programs tailored for women with low literacy

Literacy training Yemen
On 24 January 2016, SPARK, in partnership with the For All Foundation, launched an entrepreneurship training programme in the Hodeida governorate, Yemen. This was implemented as part of the activities planned for SPARK’s Agri-business Creation (ABC) programme. This program is the first of its kind in Hodeida, which is specifically designed to target individuals and groups who cannot read or write. It was launched under the slogan “Learn – Know – Succeed.”

The training uses visual and practical methods– designed by SPARK – to teach individuals about pursuing a successful business plan. Caricatures were used to help individuals interact with each other and understand business content easily. SPARK is determined not to lose talented people and it has therefore created a manual that could help those who have low literacy levels reach their goals and transform their dreams into reality.

The program worked with 30 participants who were illiterate and came from low-income communities. It was extremely important to work with these individuals to establish income-generating opportunities that would benefit a wide range of people. The initiative would further develop the Yemen date value chain and improve opportunities in the agri-business sector. The program aims to provide rigorous training to participants by providing them with information and skills that would enable them to start small businesses, despite their illiteracy.

Mr Sadiq the trainer in Hodeida stated “the group of trainees are ambitious and full of energy. They have a big desire to succeed and are dedicated on learning and developing themselves and their work. They are now more optimistic that their illiteracy will not hinder or stop them from becoming active entrepreneurs and contributing to their communities”

What makes this program unique is that it works to overcome barriers for those who are illiterate, a social-economic group not often catered for in enterprise training. Despite being unable to read or write, the program supports individuals to formulate their missions and vision for the future, develop business plans, prepare small and micro enterprises and connect individuals to loans and funding sources provided by banks.

Nabilia Muhammad Aumar Darubi, a trainee, stated “I was scared at the beginning of the training programme. I did not expect to understand the material. However, I found it useful and I was able to gain many wonderful skills. Mr Sadiq is a brilliant trainer. He is able to deliver information to us in a variety of ways and constantly encourages us to use our initiative, which boosts our self-confidence. The most useful skill I have gained from this training is in marketing”

For SPARK and their partners, “The Agri-business creation (ABC) program is one of the most important programs in the agricultural sector in Yemen. It aims to create sustainable business opportunities and strengthens the value chains for dates, strawberries, vegetables, coffee and honey while 2016 could bring exciting opportunities to work on a variety of value chains including fish stocks.”

The illiteracy program is pivotal for tackling poverty and unemployment. It supports young and illiterate people to develop their skills, knowledge and experiences. It helps create jobs and other income-generating opportunities for both men and women. SPARK is one of the first organisations to tailor their programmes to those who are illiterate. By organising curriculum specialist to specifically support those who cannot read or write but are yet interested in small and micro enterprises Illiteracy will no longer be a barrier to participation in SPARK’s agri-business programmes.

Samira Mansour Darwich, another trainee, said “I was very happy when I joined the ABC program. I was given guidance on how to develop my own products. My trainer was encouraging and had a genuine desire to see us improve our skills and experiences. This has given me immense confidence and has shows that success is possible”