The right to literacy is an inherent part of the right to education. Yet adult literacy is one of the most neglected of the Education for All (EFA) goals, with an estimated 796 million youth and adults lacking literacy skills today. UIL focuses on five strategic areas of action to achieve the overall objective of furthering literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning:
• Coordination of UNESCO’s Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE);
• Advocacy for literacy;
• Research on literacy policies and practices;
• Capacity-building for the achievement of EFA (especially Dakar Goal 4, achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy – and Goal 3, ensuring equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes for young people and adults) in Member States; and
• Effective monitoring and evaluation systems.
As UNESCO’s resource centre for literacy and non-formal education, UIL’s mandate is to provide innovative and state-of-the-art evidence and information on effective policies and programmes. For this purpose, UIL has established a database that provides examples of effective literacy and numeracy programmes worldwide. UIL coordinates the interactive platform LIFEline as an online resource and network which facilitates the exchange of experiences among the 35 countries participating in LIFE.