Physical distance cannot prevent learning. As schools have closed all around the world due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it is essential that children can still learn, no matter where they are or how. In Ivory Coast, AVSI, with the DPCE (Directorate of Pedagogy and Continuing Education), is working with the Ministry of Education to continue providing access to primary education for all children through radio. The initiative “My Class at Home” includes a radio show called “Little Stories of Uncle Marco,” in which students, teachers, and hosts read Ivorians short stories and tales.
Telling compelling and funny stories improves and encourages children to want to learn and practice reading. Children learn new words, a moral lesson, and improve their skills and get a taste for reading
This initiative continues the activities of the “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program,” a project funded by the McGovern-Dole Program of USDA and implemented by WFP and AVSI to foster the ability of children from kindergarten to 5th grade to learn and practice reading skills. Using radio allows for a broad reach across the socioeconomic spectrum, from rural and highly isolated areas to urban areas of the country. The radio program will also be used to raise awareness and educate both parents and children in rural areas on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"After schools closed due to the pandemic, we had to act urgently on behalf of our primary school children. We planned and organized an educational program that will focus on reading. This will ensure continuity of education," explains Elly Bahati.
The radio show targets more than 125,000 primary school students living in the North, East, and West regions of Ivory Coast. Twenty-two local radio stations have signed a partnership agreement, and 28 others have volunteered to ensure the dissemination of the classes and radio show. One hundred lessons have already been prepared and recorded by a team of six volunteer teachers, four radio professionals, and ten students who wanted to contribute to the fight against the virus. For each lesson, to guarantee interaction with the teachers, at least two students from each class level are present in the studio. A total of 15 experts from AVSI and DPCE accompanied the team of teachers, radio professionals, and students.