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The effects of varied, effective

Teaching / learning processes

Presentation of case studies from Africa

Prof. Dr. Irmfried Neumann

Working group FORMATIKA, Freiburg, Germany

Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

Institute for Development Research and Development Policy.
Ruhr University-Bochum

Wednesday 16 August 2006

25th International Course on vocational Training

and Education in Agriculture
Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

Effective teaching and learning of rural poor

– a case study from Uganda

This afternoon will give us the opportunity to reflect on what can be learnt from the
case of a skills development project in Uganda, where ‘sustainable learning for
sustainable action’ is put at the heart of attention. In this example, ‘sustainable
learning’ is understood as building a community based system that stimulates learners
initiative for continued learning and eases possibility to do so. And ‘sustainable action’,
– in our case study -, has the notion of learners’ growing capacity to adapt to changing
economic and social conditions and to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Working with poor rural communities means to start with what people already know
and do. It is a long way that needs sustained learning.

Uganda faces the problem, that the existing approaches to vocational training are
unaffordable for the poor and the possibility to offer subsidised training for the needy is
far beyond the economic resources of the country. With its population supposed to
double in the next 20 years from 25 to 50 million, Uganda faces a formidable
challenge to provide a new livelihood base for its people. Today, after a decade of
intensive investment, some 85% youth are enrolled at primary school, but drop-out
rates are high and quality of teaching low. Even optimistic prognosis for the year 2010
see more than half of the young people without access to any training. And primary
education alone will not help the country to make the necessary leap towards poverty

As a response to this desperate situation, the president of Uganda launched the

‘Community Polytechnic (CP) Programme’ in 2001, expressing the will to cater for the
‘forgotten majority’, i.e. the people with little or no education, who are in their vast
majority rural, illiterate, making their living from subsistence farming or – with growing
tendency - other activities of the informal sector of economy. As part of the CP -
programme, the Local Skills Development (LSD) Pilot Project was started by the
Ministry of Education in 2003 with the aim to widen the outreach of the CP-
programme, and now operates with 22 Learning Groups in three pilot villages.

In a nutshell, the LSD approach is a community based training model that aims to
address the ‘forgotten majority’ by providing low-cost vocational skills training. The
training set-up is owned by the community, training is planned in accordance to
learning groups’ needs, available resources, organised into the social and work
environment of the people, it employs all human resources in the wider community
(highly skilled farmers, skilful craftspeople and technicians) as trainers. The
government remains in a support function, creates a favourable environment, pays
costs of resident ‘Learning Facilitators’ and complements fees of trainers and training
materials for those who are poor.

Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

The LSD approach has been developed over a number of years in West Africa (Ivory
Coast) where it is known as CMR or RTN . The pilot in Uganda has the task to test
and adapt the approach to Ugandan conditions. After two years of work, results
obtained are promising and will be illustrated with the case of two Learning Groups
based in the village of Bbowa (see following paper).

A first and central assumption underlying the sustainability is that broad-impact skills
training only succeeds if the initiative to embark on training comes from the people
themselves, while the state can confine itself to a supporting role. So, every LSD work
is founded solely on the initiative of the village community, which should also take
responsibility for its running.

A second assumption concerns the poor and is built on the experience that
impoverished people are only willing to mobilise themselves and their limited
resources if training promises immediate impact in terms of new skills that can be
employed for gaining additional income. Trainings are attractive only when being short
and cheap and organised in the living or working environment of learners. The latter is
of particular importance for girls’ and mothers’ participation. Hence, when working with
the poor, sustainable learning and action start way before thinking about good
didactics, it starts with attracting interest for training and making access to it easy.

How to build a lively interest of villagers? This can be done if trainings open a
concrete and realistic perspective to improve life. For this reason, the focus on
effectiveness of learning is a constituting element in the LSD approach.

Moreover, people have to develop trust, that what they want to achieve with the
training is affordable and can be attained with in reasonable time. It is at this point,
where group work plays a decisive factor. In LSD, interested learners are constituting
a Learning Group well ahead of the actual training. Beyond being the place of
learning, the Learning Group(LG) allows the poor to share costs, mobilise resources,
to build confidence and solidarity amongst the fellow members and together build the
picture of a realistic, achievable goal of action and to plan the training accordingly.

Once the group of villagers sharing the same interest have constituted their LG, their
local resident ‘Learning Facilitator’ helps them to analyse the goal of the LG, relate it
to the LG’s resources and to consider existing (market) opportunities. At the end of
this process a concrete and feasible project for implementation has been defined

If this process of defining their new activity (project) runs well, LG members are highly
motivated to mobilise resources (start saving) and begin their training. So, we can see
that the intended action is rooted in the conscience of learners before starting the

In a next step, the Facilitator assists the learners to identify the training needs related
to the project and to design the training accordingly. Learners are actively involved in

RTN - Rural Training Networks or LearnNet. For more information see
Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

the practical organisation of the training according to their convenience (venue,

schedule) in order to ease peoples regular participation. LG-members have to
establish the costing of their training and funding plan including the implementation
costs. Even the poorest have to contribute to the costs of the training, but they should
be supported by a funding facility.

LGs are supported to identify skilled local people as trainers (Resource

Persons) to keep costs low and easing communication. The role of the
Resource Person (RP) goes further than training, the RP also has to
accompany the implementation during and after the training to ensure success
as far as possible. This ‘output orientation’ strongly helps the RPs to focus
their teaching on developing the critical skills of learners, i.e. a ‘learning by
doing’ approach. Supported by the RP, every learner will be putting into
practice what he or she intends to learn. Furthermore, participants’ prior
experiences and existing skills are identified before the training. This allows
learners to give their inputs during the training. This contributes to learners’
ownership of their training, a foundation for active learning attitudes.

Learners are helped by the Facilitator to monitor their learning progress in terms of
their capacity to implement their new activity. So, there are none of the usual tests of
knowledge or skills. At the end there is a shared evaluation of the results obtained in
implementing the original project and an analysis of what needs to be deepened
through future training to fully master the new activity.

Occasionally criticism is voiced that this process is more like agricultural extension
work than vocational training. This could be true, if a narrowly defined topic were
treated in isolation. This happens if trainers and Learning Facilitators do not actively
encourage newly formed groups to undertake a thorough assessment of needs,
evaluate their training and plan follow-up work. As a rule, however, the participants in
their discussions, and in the implementation of their training projects, very quickly
discover in which areas they need to broaden the scope of the original project and
learning in order to ensure its sustainable success. This creates crystallization points
for the next training course. So, a training course does not end with the award of a
diploma but a certificate of attendance and the question “What do I still need to learn
to succeed my work or life better ? The keywords for sustainability of action is ‘lifelong
learning’ – or ‘learning needs time’.

After two years of work in the Ugandan LSD pilots, there are encouraging results
showing that over 80% of the learners are applying what they learnt. Only two of the
22 Learning Groups discontinued so far. Most of the learners who finished their first
training intend to continue with the next one.

So far, the biggest challenge for the sustainability of learning activities is the
necessary change of mind set of everybody involved, from learners to the ministry
staff: it is the change from input to output of training, from ownership of training
institutions to ownership of learners. So, training is integrated as much as possible into
the work-life of people, an old concept, but a ever again a renewed challenge to widen
the horizon of learners to emerging opportunities and to enhance them to take
initiative to learn and realize them.
Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

Irmfried F. Neumann

79100 Freiburg

Main fields of interest

Training systems for rural people, focus on non-formal training
Sustainable land use and livelihood approaches
Supporting intercultural initiatives
After an agricultural apprenticeship, studies of tropical crop sciences at the
University of Bonn and a post graduate course in biodynamic agriculture at
Emerson College in Sussex, joining the ‘Research Centre on International
Agriculture’ of the University of Heidelberg, Agro-Ecology Working Group.
Doctorate studies at the botanical institute.

Professional experiences
Seven years of research work on agro-forestry and sustainable agriculture for
small scale farmers in Rwanda (‘Projet Agro-Pastoral de Nyabisindu’, GTZ).

Director of the “Rural Development Programme” at Emerson College, NGO for

non-formal training of development workers with partners in Africa, Asia and

Professor in tropical/subtropical plant production and nursery management

(focus on agro-ecological approaches) at the department for Horticulture and
Landscape Architecture, University of Applied Sciences Wiesbaden. Retired
since 2003.

Team leader GTZ at the ‘Centres des Métiers Ruraux – CMR’, a national
programme for non-formal training in Ivory Coast (Rural Training Networks).

Recent activities: supporting local training programmes, mainly in Africa,

networking with actors in the field of rural training, supporting cultural

Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

How do Teaching/Learning Processes

become effective?
A case study from Bbowa Village in Central Uganda

The people of Bbowa village live in an area affected by a guerrilla war since 1986 that
still has an effect in terms of their cautious behaviour and short term thinking. Located
in the central part of Uganda, Bbowa has a population of about 3000 people who are
predominantly farmers, while others depend on sell of labour, formal employment,
micro businesses among others. Many people in this area can be considered to be in
the group of the poor, gaining income from their traditional agricultural activities,
making it more difficult due to limited availability of land resources. About 50% are
non-literate, since they had no access to basic education due to war and poverty
among other factors. Only a small part of the population had access to Vocational
training. The current availability of secondary education and Vocational training is very
limited. However, there is access to the government’s extension services and the
services of NGOs for various issues extending from Health, HIV/AIDS to Business
skills development.

Local Skills Development (LSD) Project started in Bbowa in February 2004 as a pilot
project. The LSD team contacted the village administration and presented the idea of
the LSD Learning Project. The project found support from the village leadership. A
baseline study was conducted by the LSD team and the local leaders to find out the
different actors in the village, available resources and the questions of religious,
political and cultural structures. There after, the local leaders mobilized the village
population for a meeting where the LSD project was presented, and people were
invited to discuss and find out if they wanted to participate. This found enormous
response with very many people expressing interest to participate in Learning. This
marked the beginning of LSD in Bbowa in June 2004.

The following case studies will provide examples for the practical experimenting of the
LSD approach for factors of success as well as challenges to implement a mass
effective non-formal training approach in Uganda that is geared to have immediate
impact on the learners’ professional practice.

The case of the 2 Learning Groups (LGs) will be presented where farming people
engage in a non-farming training (Tailoring and Metal work) initiative with the aim to
create new sources of income.

Both cases illustrate an approach to create impact on learner’s skills and their
immediate application for income generation.

Irmfried Neuman
Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

Kamanyire Maxwell Chrysolite

Institute for Development Research and Development Policy. Ruhr University-

Bochum. Gebäude GB, Raum 1/59 Universitätsstr. 150, D-44801. Bochum,
Date of Birth: 25 May 1979

Nationality: Ugandan

Education and Qualifications

August 2007, M.A Student, Development Management- Ruhr University, Bochum,

2000– 2003- B.A (Honours) Social Sciences Degree- Makerere University Kampal

Employment experience
• 2004–2007 Worked for the German Technical Cooperation(GTZ) Programme
for Promotion of Employment Oriented Vocational Training at the Ministry of
Education and Sports.

• 2003 to 2004 Research Assistant with Makerere Institute of Social Research

(MISR), Centre for Basic Research (CBR) Kampala, European Union in
Uganda and Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen University, Norway)

• 2001 December, Voluntary worker, Council for the Development of Social

Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

Professional Interests:

• Rural Development,
• Management of development Programmes,
• Learning/Skills training.