Adults who learn: Evaluating the social impact of an adult literacy project in rural South Africa

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Social Sciences & Humanities Open


In this phenomenological study, 30 past learners of South Africa’s Kha Ri Gude (KRG) Literacy Project were selected from a rural community to share their experiences on the impact of the programme on their personal and communal lives. The participants had limited literacy skills prior to their participation in the programme which had to some extent adversely affected their livelihood. The study is premised on Mezirow’s transformative learning theory. By explicating the data generated from focus group discussions with the participants, it came to light that the programme had facilitated significant changes in their personal and communal lives as evidenced in an enhancement in their 1. literacy skills; 2. health awareness; 3. community involvement/decision making; and 4. contribution to community development. This study concludes with some recommendations for the design and implementation of future adult literacy programmes.


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Transformative learning, Empowerment, Kha ri gude, South Africa