What is a Limited Access situation?

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A Limited Access situation is one in which those responsible to initiate or carry out a literacy program have limited access to the target area.


Access to an area may be limited for several reasons:

  • Geographical isolation and travel constraints
  • Security risks
  • Exclusionary social or cultural mores
  • Statutory exclusions (someone with authority has said you cannot go there)

Carrying out a literacy program under such conditions is very difficult. Nevertheless, modest programs can often be launched if one is patient and plans well. It may be necessary to have generous funding support to work in this type of situation.

Indicating conditions

Normally, the indication of a Limited Access situation is obvious. Those responsible for the program cannot go there.


Here are some more subtle indicators, especially in situations of partial access:

  • Geographical features such as mountains, deserts, jungles, swamps, and waterways limit access to the target area.
  • Political instability or hostile political authorities do not permit long-term presence in the language area.
  • The local population has limited mobility and is unable to travel to some indicated area or place for training or other program.
  • Living or medical conditions make it unfeasible to spend more than a few hours or days in the target location.
  • Security risks such as guerrilla bands, gangs, or other troublemakers exist in the area.

Here are some implications of a Limited Access situation:

  • There will need to be a strong emphasis on the training of target mother-tongue speakers outside the language area.
  • Any training needs to be to a higher level of proficiency since those being trained will have to work more independently.
  • An internal distribution system will have to be set up.
  • It will be crucial that an effective local institutional framework be developed to support local program activity.
  • There will almost certainly be a greater need for funding support.
  • Everything needs to be kept as simple as possible until local people gain experience.
  • More emphasis will need to be placed on the training of local supervisors to oversee program function.
See also

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Page content last modified: 27 July 1999

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