Alternative Basic Education

EDC’s alternative basic education (ABE) programs provide out-of-school youth with flexible and purposeful livelihoods or work-focused learning that strengthens foundational skills in reading, writing, and math. Whether offered within the structure of the formal education system (as in Liberia) or through community-based programs (as in Mali), ABE programs are designed to complement a youth’s family, work, and community responsibilities, not interfere with them. In some cases, ABE curriculum is aligned with the formal school curriculum, enabling youth to enter or reenter school or receive an equivalency certificate. In others (such as Rwanda), a basic education component is used to help youth develop the literacy and math skills they need to gain employment or return to school.

Instruction in basic skills is based on ReadRightNow!, EDC’s approach to early grade reading and writing for youth and young adults. EDC’s Out of School Youth Literacy Assessment (OLA) tool is used to assess the literacy skills of this older population. Interactive audio instruction and text messaging often supplement and support the instruction provided by trained ABE facilitators.


Visit our Resources page to see all of our audio, video, and print resources.

For more information about EDC's work, please email