Functional Literacy Empowerment for Nomadic Herdsmen in Osun State, Nigeria

Abstract:

The need for adequate functional English literacy and numeracy instruction for the herdsmen in Osun State in Nigeria arose as a result of the persistent clashes between the herdsmen and their neighbours. In all, 48 participants (22 adults and 26 children and youths) took part in the International Reading Association assisted functional literacy project held between April 2007 and June 2009 in Osun State. Two centres were created for the herdsmen in the bush where they had their temporary accommodation. The herdsmen received early morning instruction on the identification of the shapes and the pronunciation of the letters of the alphabet in English, word formation and the pronunciation of simple English words that related to their profession and daily living. There were activities on picture reading, personal hygiene, care of animals, market transactions and courtesies in English. The project led to improved communication and conflict resolution skills for the herdsmen. The project also led to an increased awareness of Western education among the herdsmen in that, before the end of the project, they had been sensitised enough to enrol some of their children in the nearest primary school.