Luminos in Ethiopia

In 2000, nearly 60% of primary-school-aged children were out of school in Ethiopia. Through new policies and increased investment in education, the national Ministry of Education reduced this figure to 14% pre-COVID. While significant progress has been made towards universal primary education in Ethiopia, it is estimated that 2.2 million children remain out of school.

For nearly a decade, Luminos has been working in close collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia and community-based organizations, to implement an accelerated learning program, also known as Second Chance or Speed School in Ethiopia, that brings joyful learning to out-of-school children denied a chance to learn due to poverty, conflict, or discrimination.

To date, Luminos has helped over 189,768 Ethiopian children gain foundational reading, writing, and math skills and continue on the path to opportunity.

Following a successful pilot implemented by the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia in 2017, the national government has since scaled up our approach to reach thousands of additional students.


Number of children out of school (primary school)


Percent of children out of school (primary school age)


Persistence to last grade of primary school


Government expenditure on education (as % of government expenditure)


Pupil-Teacher ratio

Barriers to Learning

Child Labor

Being forced to work / Working


Losing your parents


Having a disability

Learning Environment

Struggling to learn


Being poor

Our Approach

Over the course of 10 months, Luminos helps children between the ages of 8 and 14 learn to read, write, and do math, and then transition into government schools with their age peers. The curriculum covers the first three years of school so children are prepared for 3rd or 4th grade. We use a play-based learning pedagogy that is child-centered, activity-based, and facilitator-supported.

The model has been rigorously evaluated by the Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex. Over 90 percent of the children who start our program successfully transition back to their local government school. External evaluations also show that graduates of our program go on to complete primary school at twice the rate of their peers and are happier, more confident, and have higher aspirations for their future.

“Learning science amazes me! Everything I learn here makes me happy.”

Meet Tibebu


Children given a second
chance education


Transition to
government school


Of students are girls


Teachers trained

Cumulative Program Results

“I’ve evaluated the Luminos Fund’s programs in Ethiopia over a number of years and want to emphasize their impact educating out-of-school children as well as the great promise of the Ethiopian government to adopt the Luminos model in its own classrooms. Especially given Ethiopia’s focus on accelerated education through the COVID-19 pandemic and eventual recovery, Luminos’s programs and this type of NGO-government collaboration can serve as a model for resilient, transformative education during and after crises.”

Dr. Kwame Akyeampong

Professor of International Education and Development, School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies; The Open University

Community Partners

In Ethiopia, Luminos works with the government and the following community-based organizations:

  • African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
  • Emmanuel Development Association (EDA)
  • Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus- Development & Social Service Commission – South Area Work (EECMY-DSSC)
  • Hope for Children in Ethiopia Relief and Development Association (HCF-RD)
  • Integrated Service on Health and Development Organization (ISHDO)
  • Positive Action for Development (PAD)
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL Ethiopia)
  • Wolaita Development Association (WoDA)

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The Luminos Fund is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt charitable organization registered in the United States (EIN 36-4817073).

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