2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

The ‘Using Educational Technology to Develop Essential Educational Competencies in Sub-Saharan Africa’ Programme (Centre for the Study of Learning & Performance, Concordia University, Canada)

Launched in January 2012, the Programme focuses primarily on developing literacy skills among Kenyan elementary school children. To improve teaching, learning and addressing in particular the low literacy levels in the world through innovative uses of technology, the Centre for the Study of Learning & Performance develops and distributes globally, without charge, accessible pedagogical tools through its Learning Toolkit Plus (LTK+) as part of the programme. The evidence-based and self-regulating learning software programme helps to develop literacy, numeracy and other competencies of learners around the world. In 2016, the project enrolled more than 5,000 learners, of which 50% were girls, with a completion rate of up to 80%.

The ‘AdulTICoProgram’ (Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies of the city of Armenia, Colombia)

The ‘AdulTICoProgram’ was launched in 2014 by the Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies of the Mayor’s Office of the city of Armenia (department of Quindío, Colombia) to teach digital competencies to seniors. The programme offers opportunities to develop digital skills allowing the seniors to fully participate in the information and knowledge society. The programme includes the teaching of basic computing skills, awareness and use of social networks, and the appropriate use of mobile devices. In addition, the learners participate in “seminar-workshops” which are interactive trainings that approach learning by doing. In 2016, more than 2,275 learners aged between 54 and 80 benefited from the AdulTICoProgram.

We Love Reading (Taghyeer, Jordan)

Initiated by Taghyeer, a Jordanian non-governmental organization in 2006, this programme aims to bring about positive social changes throughout Jordan and the Arab world by creating a new generation who love reading books. It seeks to achieve its goals through establishing a library in every neighbourhood in Jordan, while training and mobilizing older-age groups, women in particular, as reading-aloud volunteers for children, thereby promoting reading as a shared value across the generations.

The Aagahi Adult Literacy Programme (Citizens Foundation, Pakistan)

The Adult Literacy Programme is named “Aagahi”, meaning “creating awareness” in Urdu. Launched by the Citizens Foundation – one of the largest non-profit organizations in Pakistan in 2005, this programme, as its name suggests, aims to foster an active social engagement of community members, primarily women and out-of-school girls, by providing them with trainings in basic reading, writing and numeracy skills. One highlight of the programme is its use of a mobile phone-based data collection system, which enables efficient and effective monitoring and evaluation of its activities.

FunDza (South Africa)

The book- and reading-poor environment of South Africa is of great concern: the country was the lowest-ranked benchmarking participant in the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS); more recently, a National Reading Survey from 2016 found that 58% of South African households do not contain a single leisure-reading book. Against this backdrop, since 2011, the FundZa Literacy Trust, a non-profit organization, has been dedicated to cultivating a culture of reading and writing for pleasure among South African youths, especially those from low-income or under-resourced communities. The key to FundZa’s work is providing material that young people want to read, that will develop their understanding of the world around them, and that exploits the most accessible media available so as to engage as many young people as possible. An online platform serves as a center for reading sources as well as a space where learners could practice their literacy skills and exchange their ideas.