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"One size fits all?" : a study into the participation dynamics of adults in the functional adult literacy program in Mwizi sub-county, Uganda.

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The study was conducted in Mwizi, Mbarara District, South Western Uganda. The major purpose was to find out if a uniform method of planning a programme fitted the unique characteristics of the people for whom it was intended, and whether the FAL programme deters or encourages participation in literacy studies. The study looked at the programme; the people's lives and the infrastructural support that was available in the community to enable people to attend the FAL Programme. The research questions focused on what encouraged or discouraged people to participate or not to participate in the FAL program. In order to achieve this, the lives of the respondents were explored to see how literacy related to their daily lives and activities. This exploration was effected using a range tools that had their roots in participatory rural appraisal and they included; interviews, focus group discussions, daily activity clock and mobility mapping. These helped me get an understanding of the lives of the people and where literacy fitted in their lives. The programme was also explored to get an insight into what it was about and this was mainly done through reviewing of literature and material. This study revealed that one size does not fit all. That is to say, learners in different areas of the sub county have unique characteristics that cannot be planned for as if they were uniform. Similarly, underlying principles of adult education were not considered when it came to planning the FAL programme. The study also revealed that illiteracy and learners were highly stigmatized. This resulted in a situation whereby very few people wanted to be associated with non-literates because of the stigma associated with illiteracy in our societies. The study concludes with a set of recommendations, some of which can be addressed by program planners directly, while others are long term issues.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2005.


Functional literacy., Adult education--Uganda., Theses--Adult education.