Our Aims and Guiding Principles
The Olinga Foundations' key innovation is its approach to literacy attainment aimed to transform the instructional practice of teachers and their attitudes towards teaching in the primary classroom. The nine month literacy programme is integrated into the school period for literacy and local language learning at the upper primary level in order that primary students who have never learned to read are able to finally break through to literacy. The Government of Ghana literacy achievement testing suggests that less than 25% of children at the upper primary level are able to read and write at an international standard (MOE, 2010) after six years of primary schooling in Ghana. Although the Olinga Foundation recognizes the tremendous need for early grade literacy interventions (at P1-P3) its work has been focused on assisting Government at the upper primary levels in order to provide a remedial approach for children who are still unable to read (75% of those in P4, P5 and P6).
The Olinga Foundations main approach is to train a set of 50-75 teachers across 50 schools each year in target districts in a systematic and scalable manner. At the beginning of each academic year consultative planning meetings are held with the District Education Office in the target district to select deprived educational circuits which will be the focus for the year. A three to four day residential training programme is then held at the district level for the target schools. After the training a set of 35-40 basic primers for children are provided to each school. Cost sharing agreements with the District Assemblies ensure that teacher training and on site supervision events are sustained after the second year of programme implementation.
The Olinga Foundation has also developed training modules and on site supervision approaches which help teachers become moral leaders and morally responsible teachers in their classrooms transforming their teaching practice and approach towards students. For example, several of the schools in which the Foundation has worked have become free of corporal punishment and have adopted alternative disciplinary approaches. Teachers have also become more gender sensitive towards their female and male students ensuring larger participation among pupils in the classroom.
The methodology is based on a phonic and syllabic approach using local language literacy across three of Ghana's major local languages which accelerated the time needed to attain the basic foundation for reading simple words and sentences within a nine month period. The program has been tested for the last 12 years and has been found to ensure that at least 40% of the learners who enter the programme are able to achieve basic literacy within the nine month school cycle at the P4, P5 and P6 levels. Over 20,000 children have been involved in the Olinga Foundation's literacy programme and over 450 teachers have been trained in the two regions since its inception in 2000.
Aims of the Organization:
- To release the full human potential through the promotion of universal and moral education particularly among junior youth, women and girls.
- To build the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) to support higher levels of human development and improve the conditions for education.
- To assist communities investigate and overcome the socio-cultural barriers to development.
- To assist communities identify and apply moral and spiritual principles for the solution of socio-economic problems through the process of consultation, action and reflection.
The Olinga Foundation embraces the following ideals:
Ongoing Investigation and Learning
The value of participation for all development endeavours is widely accepted. But empowerment requires participation with knowledge of the socio-cultural barriers to development. Therefore, in all of our activities we emphasise the need for community-based learning and ongoing investigation into conditions which prevent people's full development. We encourage the communities with which we work to continually explore their own capacities, knowledge and values making their development activities part of a cycle of investigation, action and reflection. Moreover, we strive ourselves to be a learning organisation.
Releasing Human Potential
The Sacred Writings of the Baha'i Faith liken the human being to "a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom." The Foundation attempts to help liberate this potential through the education of individuals and the strengthening of rural communities and community-based organisations. Particular emphasis is placed on enhancing learning opportunities, especially for girls and women.
Some of the principles which guide our work
The Olinga Foundation believes that development is based on the application of spiritual principles in solving social and economic problems, as well as, the acquisition of spiritual capacities and virtues. We believe that the development process must be guided by universal principles essential to individual and collective progress. Some of these include:
- The oneness of humanity.
- The promotion of universal education.
- The equality of women and men.
- The elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty.
- Work done in the spirit of service is worship.
- Independent investigation of the truth.