“They were particularly keen on finding someone who was tough”

Adama Sawadogo
Burkina Faso 


Adama Sawadogo is 48 years old, has six children and has been working as an adult educator in a village in Western Burkina since 2003.


Adult Education and Development: How did you become an adult educator?

Adama Sawadogo: My parents couldn’t afford to let me continue my studies after I had been admitted to the BEPC examination, which is why I found myself back in my village. One day, I decided to enrol in the only literacy centre there was in the village. I remember that, at the time, there was no school in my village, and the nearest one was 12 kilometres away, so that was where I went to school. Only few parents agreed to send their children there because of how far away it was. After four months of intensive courses, and with the level I had, I was offered a place on a course to become a trainer in the centre (adult educator). They were particularly keen on finding someone who was tough, that is someone from the same background as the learners.

Please describe your current work. 

I teach in Kouèré, which is 30 kilometres away from the rural municipality of Sidéradougou, of which the organisation, which is named Union dakélé des femmes de Sidéradougou (UDFS), is located in Western Burkina. Literacy teaching among adults in the villages of Burkina Faso takes place for the most part during off-season, which is from January to May, because the rainy season is from June to October, and harvest time is in November and December. Classes usually start at eight in the morning and finish at four in the afternoon, five days a week. My learners are aged sixteen and older. 

Which is your favourite teaching method, and why? 

At first, we used the classic method (instrumental knowledge), which means nothing other than learning how to read, write and do maths. We have now switched to the REFLECT method, which meets the needs of the population by letting them have a say in which topics they are taught. The implementation of the ideas that have been collectively developed in the centre is particularly beneficial for the learners and the population. And because it has value for the learner, the REFLECT method is currently the most commonly used.

What motivates you?

Being with adults and sharing any knowledge that I have, and of course what they give me in return, especially when we discuss certain topics. Because I am the first endogenous trainer in my village, I am treated with a certain respect, and sometimes I am asked to weigh in on certain decisions that need to be taken. And this always motivates me. My village currently has seven trainers, all of whom were taught at my centre.

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