Timeless Literacy

Timeless Literacy

Turkeycountrywide, Turkey
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our idea is to bring opportunities through technology to the ones who need primary education but cannot access it.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Turkey has 3 million adults who cannot read and write, 85% of whom are women. In addition, there are 3.5 million adults who have not completed primary school but report themselves to be ‘literate’. 67% of this ‘literate without certificate’ group are women and 45% of them are between 14 and 34 years old. In Turkey, there are no compensation mechanisms to encourage drop-outs to return to school and receive an education. In order to complete the education requirements, they need to pass two levels of literacy courses or exams. However, according to the statistics, only 1/5 of women can pass the 2nd level after attending the 1st level courses.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Since the 2nd level literacy courses usually operate in midtown areas, women attend these courses less frequently. In addition, there is a shortage of teachers because only primary school teachers can conduct the 2nd level adult literacy courses and it is viewed as low-paid work. To help ameliorate this problem, we developed a web-based literacy program (WBLP). WBLP operates mainly through a learning portal (www.acevdeokuyaz.org) where users can login anywhere and anytime, provided they have access to a computer and internet connection. Through the learning portal, users can acquire the knowledge and skills that they need to pass the 2nd level literacy exams.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In Turkey, there are 968 Adult Education Centers (AEC), which are municipal institutions that provide 1st level and 2nd level literacy courses countrywide. Almost every large county has an AEC. First of all, every AEC will be informed about the learning portal via e-mail and post. The AECs will be asked to announce the learning portal in all of their literacy courses. In addition, local TV and radio channels will be asked to broadcast pro bono advertising spots of the learning portal. Regarding the actual learning portal itself, each user gets assigned an online-tutor. The online-tutors support and help the users and give them feedback on what they have done in the system. One module of the learning portal entitled ‘Preparation for School’ was specially made for the users who want to prepare themselves for the 2nd level literacy exam. The online-tutors will direct these users to this module in the system and give them guidance on how to apply for the exam at AEC. Through the exercises, the users will acquire the needed knowledge and skills for the exam. After that, the participants hopefully pass the exam and attend the open- school where they can complete their compulsory education!

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our learning portal www.acevdeokuyaz.org is the first literacy learning portal of Turkey that was specifically developed for adults. In this sense, the learning portal is unique and peerless (for the time being, at least!). FYI: The internal launch of the learning portal was on November 1st, 2011 and the public launch took place on May 16th, 2012.

Founding Story

2 years ago, we carried out a literacy project in Southeast Turkey. Our students were mostly aged 15-25 years. In this project, we organised ‘career planning sessions’ through PPT presentations. During these sessions, we noticed that the students had an unbelievable interest in the computers. The interest was so great that some of them even came up to us and asked if they could just touch the laptop. One of the project objectives was to direct the students to the 2nd level literacy courses. All except one, however, could not attend the 2nd level courses because they were located too far away. These two experiences caused a sudden insight for us; after that we realised that distance learning was the solution to help these girls.
About You
Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV)
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV)

Organization Country


Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, countrywide

Age of Innovator

Over 34

Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

The expertise in community based parent training and early childhood activities that the Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV) has developed in Turkey has been recognized by the international community. ACEV has developed partnerships with various international organizations, been invited to global consultative groups and networks in the field of early childhood education and received the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Award in 2006, the Institute Amadeus Award in Science, Education and Culture in 2008, and the Qatar Foundation’s WISE Award in 2010.

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Equity.

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to economic opportunity, Policy change/advocacy.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

The learning portal consists of 5,000 exercises structured in 8 literacy and 4 numeracy levels. Since the program was released in November 2011, over 3,500 users have signed up, 70% of whom never went to school. Currently, we are running a pilot evaluation study of the learning portal’s impact, the results of which will be available in September 2012. In addition to the pilot study, we have done a small evaluation on user performance. This evaluation showed us that if the learners regularly use the portal, 80% of them could progress at least one level higher in the system in an average time of 3 months. At this time, there are no figures available on how many users returned to school because the ‘Preparation for School’ module was only recently integrated into the system.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Through the learning portal, we target to reach 10,000 new users annually. In three years, we expect that our learning portal will have a total of 30,000 users. We assume that 500 users will complete the ‘Preparation for School’ module every year. The finishers of this module will be directed to the 2nd level literacy exam by the online tutors. By the end of the third year, we hope that 1500 adults will return to school through the help of the learning portal.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

We see two possible barriers; increasing awareness of the learning portal and addressing internet access problems. To achieve the targeted number of the users, a communication plan was created to inform all the AECs in the country and provide advertisements through local TVs and radios.
According to the ICT Usage Survey in Households (2011)of TurkStat 42,9% of households have access to the Internet. Also, as ACEV, we carried out a technology usage survey among our participants. According to this, two out of ten participants have internet access at their home. For the ones who have no internet access, we are working on the CDROM-Version of the software of the learning portal. We plan to send the CDROM-Version of the program to the users who do not have internet access.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

We envision that we will have carried out a successful communication strategy and managed to announce the learning portal widely

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Complete the pilot evaluation study, publish the results and revise the content according to the results of study

Task 2

Inform 968 AECs on the learning portal via e-mail and post

Task 3

Make the CDROM-Version of the software ready to use

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

We envision that the learning portal will have 13,500 users and 500 users will have returned to the school.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Train 40 new online tutors

Task 2

Revise the content of the module ‘Preparation for School’ after 100 users have successfully completed it

Task 3

Work on the interaction opportunities/activities among the users in the learning portal while they are learning

Tell us about your partnerships

This project has three international sponsors: J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, Empower Foundation and Ashmore Foundation. Also, we have a software partner (Avallain AG.), which was responsible for the set-up of the learning portal. In addition to these partners, we have a cooperation with MoNE where WBLP is recognized as a program that ACEV implements in line of our existing protocol with the MoNE.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list