Paul Taryam Ilboudo

Ashoka Fellow
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Paul Taryam Ilboudo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Paul is revolutionizing existing education programs in Burkino Faso by demonstrating that illiterate African children can become literate through following a carefully crafted 48-day curriculum in their mother language. After completing the curriculum, previously illiterate students could solve math problems, read, and write. Before the civil war in the Central African Republic, Paul’s approach also boosted child literacy rates to more than 80 percent in pilot project communities, however, much of his work was forced to stop due to rising local civil conflict.

With the return of relative political stability in the 1990s, Paul resumed crafting accelerated bilingual accelerated literacy programs for local farmers in Burkina Faso. In these programs, a person who had successfully completed the 48-day maternal language literacy program could then achieve basic literacy in French by following a successive, 150-day language training program. Using this process, Paul has introduced an adapted curriculum in schools that promotes balanced levels of high language proficiency in order to create a bridge to increase learning in other languages such as French or Arabic. Based on Paul’s work, the Government of Burkina Faso recently signed a law requiring schools to adopt bilingualism.

Paul has since pioneered this work across Western and Central Africa as well as Madagascar in schools, farming communities, and citizen organizations (COs).
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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