FIVDB is renowned for its pioneering and innovative work in the area of adult learning and primary education. It has received national and international awards for its non-formal functional literacy program and learning materials. The functional literacy materials were initially developed in 1981 following an extensive field research and were radically revised on the basis of field experiences and field findings in 1990. In the eighties and nineties these learning materials were widely used in the country by over 300 organizations and 2.4 million learners have completed the course. FIVDB assisted OXFAM India Trust and Gram Nirman Kendra in India to adapt the materials into Hindi in 1991 and ADRA in Yemen to adapt the materials into Arabic in 1997.
FIVDB is also a pioneer organization in developing ongoing education programmes to meet the learning needs of people in rural communities. It has developed and published graded reading materials, exercise books and news letters for neo literates.
Currently FIVDB is promoting community based learning centres focusing on literacy, learning and community based solidarity initiatives.
To meet the changing needs of learning and to respond to the renewed interest in adult learning, FIVDB undertook the initiative to develop on the basis of need assessment, vocabulary research, field tests and consultation with stakeholders and partners. The method is eclectic combining different participatory learning techniques and has been inspired by the “Psycho Social” and “Problem Posing Appoach” to adult learning pioneered by Paulo Freire.
Features of the Functional Literacy method
The method takes advantage of the Whole Language Approach developing sight vocabulary to solve literacy and numeracy related problems and instill critical thinking abilities in the learners.
It combines discussion on the social issues literacy instructions and exercises in each lesson.
The discussion is based on the life, work and problems of the learners. The discussion involves the participants in finding answers by themselves to their particular problem. In some sessions information is also included on women’s rights, civic rights, health, nutrition, sanitation, HIV-AIDS, entitlements to productive resources and services.