Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Katherine Garlough


The Ministry of Education implemented the Namibia National Adult Literacy Program (NNALP) in 1992 to provide adults with the skills necessary for earning a living through employment or self-employment in Namibia’s modern economy. There has been growing concern that women in Namibia’s Tupumenu district were dropping out of the otherwise successful national literacy program. The study investigated how NNALP alumni overcame such barriers as of lack of time, husband refusing to allow their wives to work outside the home, and the death of male breadwinners to avoid dropping out of the program. A qualitative phenomenological research design drew data from in-depth structured interviews of program participants concerning first-hand experiences pursuant to the research questions. Eleven out of 30 NNALP alumni women in the Kavango East Region were selected using homogenous sampling to participate in this study. Four themes emerged based on the conceptual framework from Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule: voice as a communication tool to strengthen individual identity, significance of the value of the literacy, inspiration to meet the challenges to persist, and dialog to improve their personal circumstances. The study offered insights that are potentially useful in curriculum reform to improve the skill levels achieved by graduates, whether they are job seekers or are already working within their regional economy. The findings of this study also hold implications for other interventions to improve adult literacy in Namibia.