LABE was started in 1989 at Makerere University by a group of undergraduate students then pursuing Diploma in Adult Education studies. The purpose initially was to put in practice adult education theories acquired by teaching literacy directly to adult learners in the university neighbourhood. Through gradual learning by training of other NGOs/CBOs, private sector organisations, central and local government workers, production of various basic education materials and literacy consultancy provision, LABE grew to become one of the 2002 UNESCO international literacy award winners. Since then it has been the dedicated force behind raising the profile of literacy and adult education in Uganda particularly in conflict-affected and post-traumatic settings regarded as high risk. This has been possible through developing a collaborative approach to involve multiple stakeholders in ways that encourage community ownership and participation, and simultaneously working alongside national and local level government structures.
Some of our enduring achievements include:
1. Pioneering successful, cost-effective and sustainable methods of working with and through existing partner groups at local and national levels.
2. The provision of adult literacy and basic education consultancy training services to a number of reputable agencies like Finnish Refugee Council, Mothers’ Union (UK) and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development amongst others.
3. Winning international prizes such as the prestigious 2002 UNESCO Noma literacy award and the MASHARIKI 2004 award for initiating the Family Basic Education (FABE) Project.
4. Being one of the three organisations funded by Oxfam-Novib and Education International, that successfully implemented the 2013/14 UNESCO-Hamdan ibn Rashid prize-winning ‘Quality Educators for All’ Project.
Over this time, we have developed LABE as an expert resource known for delivering literacy courses through diverse partners and designing literacy innovations. In the past ten years, we have demonstrated how to bridge initiatives in adult literacy and school education for children through our FABE innovation. This has necessitated building broad-stakeholder participation in basic education and working with a wider range of partners than those we initially had.