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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Radio education helps Somalis
Women learning on the Somdel course
The course was particularly successful among women
Some 10,000 Somalis have been taught basic literacy, numeracy and life skills following a successful BBC World Service broadcast.

Macallinka Raadiyaha (Radio Teacher), a BBC World Service Trust project, is an education programme designed to help people who signed up for the Somalia Distance Education Literacy Programme, or Somdel.

Of the 10,908 people on Somdel, 9,000 passed their final exam. Of those, 70% were women.

"The success of Somdel cannot be underestimated given that as a result of civil war, a whole generation of people have been excluded from education," said John Tuckey, the project manager of BBC World Service Trust.

He added that the success of Somdel would be of great benefit to the country.

"Developing literacy, numeracy and life skills will improve their opportunities for sustainable livelihoods in a country where conflict is endemic," he stressed.

"It also demonstrates that radio is a powerful educational tool."

Communities

The programme reached many areas in Somalia where conflict and lack of resources prevented any other form of educational delivery.

Radios were provided to those who needed them.

Run in partnership with the African Educational Trust, Somdel produced programmes that were close to the experience of Somalis.

This included exploring issues like health, human rights and sustaining the environment in rural areas, as well as literacy and numeracy.

People on Somdel listen to their radio
It was the first time radio teaching had been tried in Somalia
Community initiative and involvement also featured as part of Somdel.

Teachers were nominated by the community and received training and printed support materials.

How and where classes were organised was decided by the community - as long as teacher and class continued to work together, Somdel was sustainable even amongst populations displaced by violence and in the most difficult conditions in rural Somalia.

This was the first time that teaching by radio was attempted in Somalia, and Somdel was particularly successful in offering females their only opportunity to education.

Due to overwhelming demand and impact of the project, the BBC World Service Trust is now developing the next phase of Somdel with the African Educational Trust.




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