The DVV International team in Ethiopia

Workshop in Diredawa

Literacy class in Bambasi village

Countryside between Assosa and Bambasi, Benshangul

Initial cooperation between DVV International and Ethiopia began in 1971 and concentrated on the training of adult education personnel. In 1995 a country office was established in Addis Ababa. The same year, DVV International signed the first Bilateral Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Education and from then onwards engaged with federal, regional and district adult education institutions and structures. DVV International’s work evolved over time and focused both on adult literacy and non-formal skills training. At national level these efforts with the Ministry of Education and other partners culminated in the launch of the National Adult Education Strategy (2008) and in 2010 with the development of a detailed Master Plan for Adult Education. 

Ethiopia’s total population is estimated at 90 million people and the number of illiterate adults around 20 million, with the majority residing in rural areas. The government’s long-term vision is to transform Ethiopia into a middle-income country within the next 15 years. This vision demands a transformation of the economy, which in turn demands a literate and skilled population as a precondition for any nation to become competitive and achieve growth and transformation.

In this context the Ministry of Education adopted the IFAE (Integrated Functional Adult Education) approach which seeks to combine adult literacy in a functional manner with other development sectors such as health, agriculture, environment, etc. This integrated approach draws on a combination of adult literacy methodologies and seeks cooperation across sectors and tiers of governance. Accordingly, Adult Education Boards and Technical Teams comprised of representatives from different government sector offices have been formed to implement IFAE in all regions of the country.

Main focus of work

DVV International supports the Ministry of Education with the implementation of the IFAE approach across the following areas:

Policy and Guidelines: Assisting the Ministry of Education at national level to develop guidelines for regional governments to implement IFAE.

IFAE Management Information System (MIS): Developing an MIS and M&E system that collects data on IFAE in all regions.

Capacity Building: Conduct workshops and develop manuals with national and regional government representatives on all aspects of IFAE (Trainers‘ Manual, Post Literacy, etc.) for regional and district trainers, supervisors and facilitators.

Service Delivery Optimisation: Assist Regional Education Bureaus and other Regional Sector Offices to optimise the delivery of IFAE through the adjustments of IFAE structures, management processes (planning, budgeting, etc.) and technical processes (training, etc.).

Community Learning Centres: Assist regional and district education and other sector offices to establish community learning centres that provide IFAE, non-formal skill training and savings and credit services for communities.

Model Districts: Implement IFAE in model districts as demonstration sites for districts and regional governments to learn from and upgrade to best practices across the regions.


DVV’s main partner in Ethiopia is the Ministry of Education with its offices across the tiers of government, namely Regional Education bureaus, and District (Woreda) Education office. Other government sector offices such as Women Affairs, Agriculture, TVET, etc., are involved through IFAE Boards and Technical Teams.

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