Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Strengthening Literacy in Mibu

We're making some changes to the literacy program here to try to beef up the Mibu church's ability to read and write in their own language. A strong ability to read and write in one's own language is absolutely fundamental to the longevity of a sustainable indigenous church plant. Not only does it allow them to read God's word for themselves, but it also is an elemental skill on top of which other skills are developed. Lesson development, learning and even being literate in other languages, as well as ability to concentrate on communicated messages, ability to process large chunks of written and spoken communication... all these follow after and are developed only when a high level of skill and confidence are achieved in reading and writing one's mother tongue. But first and foremost, there is a direct link between literacy skill level and one's ability to read, process, and internalize God's word for themselves. Of course there are other factors, such as translation philosophy of those who are providing the translation, but as you can see, literacy is indeed a biggie! Along with all that, the passing on of the torch of literacy will never happen unless the people are convinced, excited, and confident in the purpose of literacy. Responsibility for the program will wax and wane requiring continual outside influence to keep it going. That's not what we're about. Someday we plan to be done here, leaving behind leaders who take ownership of all they have been taught.

Right now in Mibu, the literacy program has hit a bit of a wall. There are improvements being recommended by our literacy consultants to the curriculum materials, as well as how the program is managed. Once improvements and revisions have been made to the materials, they will need to be printed. Along with this, new 'literacy boxes' need to be made which safely house these new literacy materials, preserving them for long term use and avoiding the need to print new materials quite as often.

We've spent the last two weeks working through these changes and getting things ready for a new printing. We're so thankful for the huge investment made by people such as Sesi, his sister Wunjo, and Ekim, Lookas and Ti. A couple of them gave well over 60 hours of full time work looking through and helping to make improvements!

Along with some of the changes to the literacy curriculum itself, will come changes to the post-literacy program here. These changes we hope will encourage continued growth in people's ability to read and write, challenging them work on reading accuracy and comprehension. We're excited about what these changes will mean for the future of the church here in Mibu!

(in the pictures: An old literacy box and what remains of literacy materials printed years ago. Sesi, Ekim, Lookas, Wunjo, Ti working on revisions to the literacy materials.)

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