GILLBT’s Literacy and Development Department (LADD) promotes mother tongue and English reading and writing – as well as numeracy – among all people and faiths in Ghana. The LADD is comprised of a Gender Promotion Programme, Education and Training Section, and a Material Development Section.

We endorse mother tongue literacy because it is recognised as the easiest way to gain reading and writing skills applicable to learning any other language. Since 1972, we have been carrying out successful, community-based literacy programmes – now in 34 language groups. GILLBT has also published over 500 titles for literacy in various Ghanaian languages.

Certificates for passing literacy assessment, Volta Region, 2009


What we offer

The LADD literacy programme, designed for adults and young people, is taught at four levels:

1. Basic mother tongue:  basic literacy skills in the mother tongue.

2. Advanced mother tongue: consolidation to develop fluency and comprehension.

3. Oral English: introduction to spoken English (Ghana’s official language).

4. Written English: reading and writing English as the language of wider communication (LWC).


How the projects are run

Our literacy work, based in Tamale, focuses on Ghana’s northern and central areas where poverty rates are highest and education levels lowest. The LADD projects are grouped into four regions: Upper East, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Northeast. A Regional Co-ordinator for each serves to link the projects with the LADD in Tamale, and with other projects within the region.

The local project committee (Central Literacy Committee) which makes decisions at project level, is composed of local interest groups, including churches, and other development organisations. Depending on size, projects may be divided into zones with a supervisor for project activities in each. Zones may be further divided according to villages where project staff are mainly volunteers.

Central to our project activities are literacy classes run by literacy teachers. They are local people who speak the target mother tongue language and receive regular training on how to facilitate learning, teach adults and promote income-generating activities.

LADD’s community-based literacy projects are designed for integration into local life with an emphasis on the support and commitment of traditional authorities. And thus, are supportive of traditional social patterns. Some projects become autonomous and register as non-governmental organisations (NGOs). So far, the Bimoba, Konkonba, Dagbani and Sisaala projects have attained NGO status.


Women's income generation project

Income Generating Projects

It is important that communities maintain and sustain literacy from local resources. As community-based literacy programmes become self-managing, GILLBT assists with setting up income generating projects. These provide funds for running the projects, and also benefit local communities. For example, the Buem rural printing press which serves several Volta Region communities; and the Bimoba Literacy Farmers’ Co-operative Union (BILFACU) which aims to retain local food supply. Women engaged in literacy also have opportunities to participate in co-operatives such as soap-making, groundnut cultivation and livestock production.