The CAPOLSA project aim is to establish a strong literacy centre with international visibility and impact, specifically in African countries facing similar challenges with Zambia. The literacy training approach is based on the Grapho Learning Initiative and the innovative and efficient digital-based learning game GraphoGame that is developed based on scientific studies led by Professor Heikki Lyytinen.

Centre for promotion of literacy in sub-Saharan Africa


05/201112/2012. Project ended.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Read about the results on pages 124-145 in a publication about the experiences of the first projects funded by the HEI ICI programme: 

Publication: Higher Education Institutions Partnering for Development and Change (pdf)


  • University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
  • Project team in Zambia: Leader Robert Serpell, Ph.D., Tamara Chansa-Kabali, Jacqueline Jere-Folotiya,  Jonathan Munachaka, Francis Sampa, Christopher Yalukanda

Read more

The CAPOLSA activities include:

  1. Collaborative training of experts who will be able to instruct teachers in the colleges and their activities associated with reading instruction
  2. Building a technology support system of reading instruction (Graphogame) and capacity of the personnel of the centre to be able to support its wide usage in Zambia. A special emphasis will be put on the transition from the acquisition of reading skill of the familiar local languages to the acquisition of reading skill of English.
  3. Collaborative development of facilities and expertise needed for the production of written material in familiar languages motivating children to apply their initial reading to help them to acquire functional reading skill which requires a lot of reading.

The project brings together a capacity building agenda (post-graduate training) at Zambia’s leading university, a felt need by the Zambian government for policy-oriented research and development in a priority field of public education (promotion of universal basic literacy), and an emerging programme of international research collaboration on optimising conditions for initial literacy acquisition.

The final goal of the project is to build an efficiently functioning resource centre for supporting African children to learn to read the language they are able to speak. Through the project, the centre is supported to have the ability and facilities

  1. to collect the content databases of the connections between written and spoken languages (ie. appropriate units of the orthographies of African languages (during the first stage those of Bantu-languages),
  2. to train teachers and their teachers about optimal ways to instruct children to acquire the reading skill
  3. to distribute and support the opportunity to use technology-supported learning environments for reading acquisition among children who have not otherwise learned to read before the end of the first grade
  4. to guarantee effective creation of reading material for children who have learned the basic reading skill to help them to acquire functional reading skill

The effectively working Centre’s mandate will be to support

  1. promotion of support for children’s acquisition of literacy in Zambian languages among parents, families and pre-school teachers
  2. provision of technical support in curriculum and instruction to the various training institutions mandated to prepare teachers for initial literacy instruction in the nation’s lower primary school grades,
  3. creation, collation and dissemination of child-friendly reading materials in the Zambian languages used as media for initial literacy instruction, and
  4. development of guidelines for the harmonisation of orthographies across the different Bantu languages as used in the various countries of sub-Saharan Africa
  5. specialised, advanced education of a critical mass of expertise at UNZA for the conduct of such research.

As the Centre is piloting and developing best practises for supporting literacy that can be applied in other African countries as well, beneficiaries in the longer term will thus be children throughout Africa and possibly developing countries globally.

See this video on Graphogame in Zambia!

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