This Adult education package was piloted in April-May 2012 in Mwanga Tanzania. Read a comprehesive report on how it worked and suggestions to improve, pdf 317KB

Adult education package for drylands of East Africa

In many remote dryland locations in East Africa, people have had very limited or no exposure at all to many solutions that could potentially improve their livelihoods and be suitable in their area. Liana believes that for many parts of semi-arid East Africa a key starting point for improved livelihoods is adult education, which will, by helping people analyse the constraints they face and giving ideas of available solutions, prepare the way for practical changes later on. Due to the long history of projects in the drylands, there is quite a clear idea of what the common problem areas are. There is also a lot of material on how these problems have been successfully solved. This led us into the activity of compiling an adult training pack. 

Rachel Stern, a young anthropologist/psychologist from UK, worked as a voluntary consultant for Liana for three months in 2007-2008 and visited NGOs and International organisations in Nairobi and did web based research for finding suitable teaching materials. We were interested in both ready-made teaching materials and suitable reference materials. Very little ready-made education materials were found. At the end the package was put together almost solely out of reference materials and session plans compiled by Rachel. Topics included in the package are: 

  • Health care and common sicknesses (e.g. what causes common sicknesses, how to recognise, prevent and treat them, first aid, basic maternal and child care)

  • Hygiene and sanitation (e.g. microbes, why is hygiene needed, how to practice in everyday life, toilets, wastes)

  • Nutrition (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, balanced diet, special requirements of children and pregnant mothers)

  • Dryland agricultural methods (e.g. soil & water conservation, pasture management, run-off water harvesting, agroforestry, drip irrigation... 'conservation agriculture')

  • Improving livestock health and conserving the environment (e.g. pasture management, growing fodder, basic treatments without vets, hygienic milk)

  • Water and rainwater harvesting methods and irrigation (e.g. run-off and roof-top methods, drip irrigation)

The three key goals of adult training by using this training pack are the following: 

  •  To help people analyse their current development constraints and raise awareness of available current solutions that have been proved to work elsewhere. 

  • To encourage people to start looking at their surroundings with new ideas of how they could shape them or cope with them. 

  • To hopefully lay a solid foundation on which practical projects can later build in a truly participatory way enabling beneficiaries, through their prior knowledge and understanding, to contribute to and thus feel involved and invested in.

Session plans can be downloaded from this web page. These are based on 30 books. Books need to be either bought or downloaded from the Internet. All the books are low cost books. If you intend to buy the books you will probably get everything by visiting IIRR, ICRAF, ILRI and AMREF (and maybe ALIN). Many are downloadable from the Internet. There is slightly over 50 sessions in this package, thus, if for example one session is organised every Saturday,  it takes a year to go through the material. 

Other useful material about teaching methods suitable in adult education, facilitation, communication, about Blooms taxonomy etc. has been added on this page. These short overviews have been prepared by Rachel for those who have not studied adult education or have no experience in teaching adults. We recommend you read these documents before you start to teach adults in your community. 

Liana hopes that the package is found useful by other organisations as well. We also hope to hear feedback from users. Please write your feedback to liana (at) Your feedback can include suggestions in the ways subjects are taught or suggestions for better books to base the sessions on. This is the first version, the prototype, of the package and we understand that it should be developed further. But it can be developed only in use. 

Session plan for health, medical, hygiene (pdf 84 KB)

16 sessions. This section is based on the books: 

Where there is no doctor

Health education, an essential text for schools

Community health worker's manual

Management of solid and liquid wastes

A guide to health promotion through water and sanitation

Nutrition session plan (pdf 85 KB)

6 sessions. This section is based on books:

Community nutrition for eastern Africa

Community health worker's manual

Where there is no doctor

Health education and essential text for schools

Improving livestock health session plan (not compiled) 

This section is based on books: 

Ethnoveterinary medicine in Kenya

More forage more milk

Drought cycle management

Conservation agriculture

Managing dryland resources


Hygienic milk collection and testing

Hygienic small-scale milk processing

Water harvesting session plan (pdf 50 KB)

6 sessions. This section is based on the books: 

Water from dry riverbeds

Water from rock outcrops

Water from roofs

Water from small dams

Conservation agriculture

Managing dryland resources


Managing dryland resources

Soil and water conservation in Eritrea

Drip irrigation extension manual 

Drip irrigation, options for smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa


Environmental care and dryland agriculture session plan (pdf 69 KB)

19 sessions. This section is based on books: 

Conservation agriculture

Soil and water conservation manual for Eritrea

Soil fertility and land productivity

Enclosures to protect and preserve

Conservation agriculture in Zambia

Sustainable agriculture: A pathway out of poverty for East Africa's rural poor

Management of rangelands

Managing dryland resources

More forage, more milk


Agroforestry in dryland Africa

Teacher's manual, Agroforestry in dryland Africa

Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia

Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya

For literacy training we suggest materials from PALM (Partners in Literacy Ministries). Books are available in: English, Swahili, Kamba, Kikuyu, Kiembu, Kuria, Luo, Kalenjin, Massai, Orma, Pokot, Turkana. They are primarily scripture based, but some livelihood topics, such as health, farming etc are included. PALM offers training for trainers and assistance in setting up a course.


Short overviews related to adult learning. Useful for those with no training and/or experience in adult education 

Characteristics of adult learning (pdf 60 KB)

Blooms taxonomy (pdf 53 KB)

Planning a session (pdf 135 KB)

Communication (pdf 92 KB)

Facilitation (pdf 57 KB)

Training for trainers, an overview (pdf 22 KB)


Details of books needed:

Many RELMA publications are downloadable from > Type RELMA in the publisher field. 

Other addresses are given below the publication. 

Health and basic health care: 

  • David Werner (Author, Illustrator), Carol Thuman (Author), Jane Maxwell (Author), Andrew Pearson (Author), Felicity Cary (Illustrator). Where there is no doctor. Macmillan Education; 2Rev Ed edition 1994. (approx. price 1200 Ksh)

  • Nyamwaya D & Oduol E (eds). Health education, an essential text for schools. AMREF (approx. price 860 Ksh)

  • Wood E. Community health worker's manual. AMREF (approx. price 1000 Ksh)

  • Nyang'echi G N. Management of solid and liquid wastes. AMREF (approx. price 500 Ksh)

  • Nyamwaya D with Munguti K K , Akuma P. A guide to health promotion through water and sanitation. AMREF (approx. price 750 Ksh)


  • Ann Burgess et al. Community nutrition for eastern Africa. AMREF (approx. price 900 Ksh)

  • Community health worker's manual. See above

  • Where there is no doctor. See above

Environmental care and dryland agriculture: 

  • Conservation agriculture. A manual for farmers and extension workers. Published by the FAO-supported African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) (approx price 750 Ksh)

  • Negassi A, Bein E, Ghebru K, Tengnäs B. Soil and water conservation manual for Eritrea. RELMA (approx. price 400 Ksh)

  • Gachene, C.K.K; Kimaru, G. Soil fertility and land productivity. RELMA (approx. price 400 Ksh)

  • Kitalyi A, Musili A, Suazo J,  Ogutu F. Enclosures to protect and preserve: For better livelihood of the West Pokot community. RELMA (approx price 200)

  • Baudron F, Mwanza H.M, Triomphe B, Bwalya M. Conservation agriculture in Zambia. African Conservation Tillage Network ACT (approx price 200 Ksh) 

  • Sustainable agriculture: A pathway out of poverty for East Africa's rural poor. Examples from Kenya and Tanzania. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)

  • Chileshe E C & Kitalyi A. Management of rangelands: use of natural grazing resources in Southern Province, Zambia. RELMA (approx. price 200 Ksh)

  • Managing dryland resources. A manual for Eastern and Southern Africa. IIRR (approx price 500 Ksh)

  • Kitalyi A, Mwangi DM, Mwebaze S, and C Wambugu. More forage, more milk: Forage production for small-scale zero-grazing systems. RELMA (approx price 500 Ksh)


  • Rocheleau D, Weber F, and Field-Juma A. Agroforestry in dryland Africa. ICRAF (approx price 800 Ksh) 

  • Teacher's manual for the above: Ngumy J.G. 1996. Teacher's manual: Agroforestry in dryland Africa.  RELMA/SIDA

  • Bekele-Tesemma, A. Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia. RELMA (approx price 1200)

  • Maundu P &Tengnas B (eds). Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya. ICRAF. (approx price 1000 Ksh)

Improving livestock health: 

  • Ethnoveterinary medicine in Kenya. A field manual of traditional animal health care practices. ITDG and IIRR. (approx. price 500 Ksh) 

  • More forage, more milk.  See above

  • Drought cycle management. A toolkit for the drylands of the Greater Horn of Africa. IIRR, Cordaid and Acacia Consultants. (approx price 500 Ksh)

  • Conservation agriculture. See above

  • Managing dryland resources. See above   


Water harvesting methods:


  • Managing dryland resources. See above

  • Soil and water conservation in Eritrea. See above.

  • Drip irrigation, an extension manual. ALIN (approx price 250 Ksh)

  • Isaya V. Sijali 2001 Drip irrigation: options for smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa. RELMA (approx price 200 Ksh)

Books and a document that were not included in the package but are useful additions:


Established 16th June 2008