30 Years Journey in Advancing Adult and Non-Formal Education in Ethiopia

DVV International has had the privilege of dedicating the past 30 years to advancing adult and non-formal education in Ethiopia. It is with great honor that we invite you to join us in celebrating the milestones, innovative approaches, and successful methodologies achieved through our collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Education and key stakeholders. As we move on to new horizons, we hope to inspire a continued commitment to the work of DVV International and a shared vision of a future where everyone has access to quality education to improve their livelihoods.

After 30 years of operations, DVV International will conclude its project in Ethiopia in June 2024, marking significant achievements in Adult and Non-Formal Education with the Ministry of Education.

To acknowledge achievements made and to foster sustainability of structures and approaches in adult education, DVV International conducted a closure Conference from 18th to19th April 2024 in Addis Ababa. About 80 participants were present, among them key partners of DVV International from the Ministry of Education, the Regional Education Bureaus and academia. The conference was graced by the presence of distinguished guests including the Honourable State Minister General Education, Mrs Ayelech Eshete, His Excellency Stephan Auer, German Ambassador, Martin Rabanus, MP and Chair of the Board of Directors of DVV, and board member Arne Zielinski, accompanied by Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Director of DVV International, Germany. Their esteemed presence served as a hallmark of the opening ceremony of the conference.

During the opening remarks, Martin Rabanus graciously shared his thoughts about the work DVV International is doing in adult education and how they are supporting over 30 countries in the world in the system strengthening of adult education. “I am very proud of the work done by DVV International in Ethiopia.” Said Martin Rabanus, MP and President of the Board of Directors, DVV, in his opening remarks of the conference. “After 30 years, our work in Ethiopia is coming to an end - the structures have been established as models and can now be rolled out in the country. We would like to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Education for their invaluable cooperation, which has been instrumental in the success and impact achieved in Ethiopia.”. His Excellency Stephan Auer, German Ambassador stated during the opening remarks.

“We need an education system that not only imparts knowledge and skills but also cultivates critical thinking and fosters the capacity for self-initiative and accountability. Adult Education stands as a crucial pathway to combat unemployment and serves as an integral part of sustainable economic development." - Frauke Heinze, Regional Director of DVV International East/Horn of Africa, who expressed her appreciation to the Ministry of Education and other partners for their invaluable contributions towards the advancement of adult and non-formal education in Ethiopia. The Country Director of DVV International Ethiopia, Eshetu Abate, invited all participants to learn more about the work done by DVV International and its partners over the past three decades. Yoseph Abera, CEO ANFE, Ministry of Education delivered opening remarks in which he acknowledged the significant contributions of DVV International in partnership with the Ministry in providing valuable support and structural developments.

The guest of honour of the conference, Mrs. Ayelech Eshete, Honorable State Minister general Education of the ministry of Education, extended her congratulations to DVV International, the Ministry of Education, and all stakeholders involved in the remarkable achievement of advancing adult education and empowering the citizens of Ethiopia. She expressed gratitude for the privilege of collaborating with DVV International on the significant progress made in providing quality education to marginalized adults. Mrs Eshete mentioned some initiatives undertaken during this collaboration, including the development of successful methodologies in adult learning and education and the establishment of Community Learning Centers, one stop adult education service delivery points. She emphasized the importance of scaling up these centres to offer tailored basic education, skills development and vocational training to citizens particularly in the rural areas and ensure the sustainability of the ANFE sector for the country's sustainable development. Mrs. Eshete concluded her remarks by expressing heartfelt appreciation to all who contributed to this 30 years’ journey and expressing hope for continued support from the Government of Germany and DVV International through future initiatives.

DVV International and the Ministry of Education showcased their milestones in an exhibition. Milestones highlighted included the development of the Integrated Functional Adult Education (IFAE) program, which incorporates adult literacy into functional approaches alongside sectors like health, agriculture, life skills, livelihood and the environment a well as the introduction of Community Learning Centers as part of the IFAE program, the establishment of study and master programmes at Universities like Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, and Hawassa university among others. These approaches empower individuals and communities through lifelong learning opportunities.

To mark the peak of the conference we launched a publication called "30 Years of Journey in Advancing Adult and Non-Formal Education in Ethiopia". The publication highlights the achievements of the organization in Ethiopia over the past 30 years. The launch was presided by the guest of Honour Mrs. Ayelech Eshete and Martin Rabanus. The publication is a collection of good practices and the collaborative efforts made towards advancing adult and non-formal education in Ethiopia, and it serves as a valuable resource for educators and policymakers both within and beyond the country.

During the conference, a number of keynote speeches were delivered, shedding light on the progress and future directions of adult and non-formal education in Ethiopia. Dr. Dessu from Addis Ababa University provided a detailed overview of the historical development of non-formal adult education over the past century, offering valuable insights into historical trends and evolving methodologies. He emphasized Mwalimu Nyerere's contribution to Adult and Non-Formal Education, highlighting that Adult Education should aim to empower adults to help themselves, who are the present generation and can bring about changes in their communities, fostering self-reliance.

Besides key notes, round table discussion were conducted to foster sustainability of the achievements made in the Adult and Non-formal Education sector in partnership with the Ministry of Education. Esteemed guests including Dr. Alemayehu Gebre, Director of Lumions Foundation; Yoseph Abera, CEO of ANFE, Ministry of Education; Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Director of DVV International, Germany; Mr. Tamagne Ashenafi, ANFE Focal Person REB Amhara Region; and Mr. Abiy Minker, Bahir Dar University, were present. They shared their perspectives on enhancing the adult education sector in Ethiopia and beyond through sustaining the IFAE programme implementation and Community Learning Centers. The discussion sparked powerful dialogues aimed at further developing the field of adult education.

"Adult education should evolve around the needs of adults. You cannot force adults into classrooms." - Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Director DVV International, Germany.


During the round table discussion, Arne emphasized the importance of government support for sustaining Community Learning Centers in Ethiopia beyond DVV intervention.

"The state should invest in supporting the local structure." - Arne Zielinski, Board Member, DVV Germany

In wrapping up the conference, Dr. Alemayehu Gebre, Director of Lumions Foundation, and Yoseph Abera, CEO of ANFE at the Ministry of Education, shared some key reflections. Mr. Abera stressed the importance of ensuring the sustainability of the progress made and urged the Ministry to continue the initiatives pioneered by DVV International. He called upon all conference attendees to remain committed to strengthening networks, with a collective goal of eradicating illiteracy in Ethiopia. Dr. Gebre echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the significance of collaborative efforts in driving forward the mission of adult education. As Dr. Gebre succinctly put it, "We need to sustain the momentum left by DVV International." Other key take aways were to encourage the Ministry of Education to ensure sustainability and role out of the CLCs  and call for stakeholders to invest in capacity building to sustain quality of adult education services at CLCs in future years.

As we say goodbye to this important collaboration and conference, we are reminded of DVV International's unwavering dedication to promoting lifelong learning and empowering communities. Even though we've reached a milestone, the quest for education and empowerment continues. Let's work together towards a future where every person has access to quality education and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

DVV International
VHS DVV International LogoBMZ Logo
Important notice: If you click on this link, you will leave the websites of DVV International. DVV International is not responsible for the content of third party websites that can be accessed through links. DVV International has no influence as to which personal data of yours is accessed and/or processed on those sites. For more information, please review the privacy policy of the external website provider.