What is a Bandwagon situation?

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A Bandwagon situation is one in which the conditions in an area are very ripe for literacy, and one needs only supply key missing elements to make literacy grow rapidly.


Bandwagon situations are quite common in some parts of the world, especially in Africa. The need for literacy is great and people are highly motivated to participate in a literacy program. All that is missing is a key person or a basic financial grant to get the program up and running.


Bandwagon situations can be challenging for the sheer weight of response. Everyone wants to join the classes at once. This puts a strain on resources as well as program management functions. Normally, Bandwagon situations are not ones to avoid, but ones to tackle with a clear vision of what might happen.

Indicating conditions

Here are some indicators of a Bandwagon situation:

  • Strong institutions exist in the area showing interest in literacy.
  • There is a strong community interest in mother-tongue literacy.
  • There is a strong sense of group self-identity.
  • Individuals or groups have prepared and presented petitions to various agencies requesting assistance in literacy.
  • Some experimentation is already taking place.

Here are some implications of a Bandwagon situation.

  • Things will be happening quickly. There will be a need to be flexible and agile in responding to needs and opportunities.
  • A number of agencies may already be involved in experimental efforts. It will be important to do a lot of networking with all concerned parties.
  • There will be a need to assist or empower any current efforts by providing training or resources.
  • Any program will likely be community-based. One can build on this to assure ongoingness.
  • It will be important to anticipate the possibility of rapid growth, and to be prepared to look for external funding if need be.
  • There will likely be an explosive demand for adequate materials and trained teachers.
  • A growing or successful program will attract attention. There will be a need to entertain visitors and observers who want to know what made the program successful.
  • In a rapidly expanding program, you will need to resist the temptation to ignore or postpone program documentation and evaluation.
See also

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Page content last modified: 27 July 1999

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