To combat the learning crisis in Uganda, Building Tomorrow launched in 2018 a signature foundational literacy and numeracy program called Roots to Rise (R2R). R2R adapts the proven Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) pedagogy to the Ugandan context, leveraging community and school support to deliver learning-level-specific lessons to children in transitional classes.
Building Tomorrow works with 20 district governments and 5 primary teacher training colleges to support the implementation and scaling of Roots to Rise (R2R).
R2R is delivered by Building Tomorrow Fellows and Community Education Volunteers (CEVs). The fellows are recent Ugandan university graduates employed to support education in underserved communities and the CEV’s these are community members passionate about education. R2R is designed to test for literacy and numeracy skills using standard assessments, group students by ability rather than age or grade, and provide 40 contact hours of interactive learning activities targeted to children’s learning needs, in contrast to the “chalk and talk” style common in Ugandan classrooms.
Within schools, R2R is a remedial program led by trained teachers with support from Fellows and CEVs. It is an integral part of the school program that is planned and supported by Building Tomorrow’s respective local government partners. Community-based learning camps foster continued learning through school breaks. These camps take place in select host homes and community learning centres, led by CEVs with support from Fellows and teachers. CEVs are recruited by school leadership and jointly supervised by district local council leadership.
R2R Ewaka is a distance learning tool that leverages interactive voice response (IVR) technology to deliver automated numeracy lessons to children via basic 2G phones. The tool features constant comprehension checks and associated logical flows to support students in mastering the basic arithmetic functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
The R2R Community and Ewaka models were developed as flexible adaptations during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and have been continued due to their emphasis on community and inclusion, as well as their potential for cost-effective scaling.
Level one learners in Nakaseke District engage in number jump activities.
Reach and Results
By the end of 2022, R2R will have reached upwards of 125,000 children with support from several thousand CEVs and 600 teachers. This reach spans 600 public primary school communities in 20 partner districts, with lessons delivered in five languages. Since 2015, Building Tomorrow has already reached over 100,000 learners with R2R literacy and numeracy lessons and helped re-enroll over 75,000 out-of-school children in school. Of learners completing R2R camps in 2022, 75% could read a paragraph, compared to only 6% of P4 students nationally (World Bank, 2019).
A teacher, Community Education Volunteer, and a Fellow respectively support group activities in a heterogenous school camp setting.