Fall 2021

A Better Connection

Mobile hotline supports parents and volunteers helping children in Ethiopia learn to read

Primary school students in the Sebata district were at risk of falling behind reading com- prehension benchmarks when the COVID-19 pandemic caused nationwide school closures. USAID’s READ II decided on a tech-savvy solution: amobile hotline to help students with literacy education. Bedada Kewocha, 43, father of three children, uses the READ II hotline to ask for support when he helps his children with reading, includ- ing calling to ask the hotline’s trained operators for help pronouncing words or reading stories. The hotline “is very useful. It helps a lot in guid- ing on how to provide support for my children to

learn to read,” he says. Kewocha, a farmer, didn’t complete primary school and says that he doesn’t want the same for his children, who attend third and fourth grade nearby in Sebata district, Oromia region. His third child is still a toddler. “I do not want my children to live the life I lived. I want them to have a better future, and I believe education is the only way out,” he says. Funded by the USAID, the five-year READ II programworks to better equip teachers with effective early grade reading instruction tech- niques andmaterials in sevenmother-tongue languages and English while simultaneously

By Berihun Ali

Photo by JimHuylebroek

20 | Think Creative | Fall 2021

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