2019 UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

National Strategy for Multilingual Literacy programme (National Office of Literacy and Education for Adults, Algeria)

In 2016, the Ministry of Education in Algeria launched the project ‘National Strategy for Multilingual Literacy’, when Tamazight became another official language of Algeria in addition to Arabic. This bilingual programme is part of Algeria's National Strategy for Literacy launched in 2008 and represents the government’s efforts to take into consideration the multilingual context of Algerian society in literacy activities. Through this programme, Tamazight speakers can benefit from mother language-0based teaching of Arabic, and Arabic speakers can learn Tamazigh to foster both personal and professional empowerment, as well as social cohesion and development. Facilitators receive both pre- and in-service training to deliver reading, writing and numeracy courses in the two official national languages. A learner who successfully passes a final exam can pursue further learning through distance education, vocational training and income-generating activities. The programme has benefited more than half a million learners.

Programme ‘Functional literacy and follow-up vocational training in national languages for farmers in southern Senegal’ (Senegalese Textile Fibres and Development Company (SODEFITEX), Senegal)

The Senegalese Textile Fibres and Development Company (SODEFITEX) launched this programme in 1982 to provide literacy courses for farmers in Southern Senegal. This initiative is providing classes in three national languages, Mandinka, Pulaar, and Wolof and allows successful learners who passed literacy and numeracy tests to proceed to vocational training. The methodological focus is mainly on developing activities that are directly linked to the daily lives of learners, such as agriculture, family life and everyday life in rural areas. Through the creation of a network of rural professions, the programme is strengthening local support for family farmers and increasing productivity, innovation, and the diffusion of technical skills in the region. To this day, 63,735 rural people, of which almost 25% are women, have received certificates of achievement.

Obras Escuela programme (Camacol Antioquia, Colombia)

Obras Escuela is a Colombian corporate social responsibility programme, launched in 2007 by Camacol Antioquia, a regional branch of a non-profit consortium, composed of more than 400 companies in the construction sector. It provides workplace-based literacy and arithmetic learning for construction workers. The programme’s content is aligned with the basic learning models proposed by the Ministry of National Education, and operates mainly in Spanish, the learners’ native language, but also teaches English. This programme has improved the literacy and arithmetic skills of over 4,000 construction workers who had limited or no schooling. Beyond literacy skills, it has also increased the self-esteem and empowerment of learners and improved both the quality of work and the social and working conditions. Successful learners can obtain certificates endorsed by the Ministry of Education of Medellín and are encouraged to pursue higher education, especially by participating in Camacol Antioquia vocational training for workers.

BASAbali Wiki programme (BASAbali, Indonesia)

BASAbali Wiki is a multimedia, multilingual wiki dictionary, encyclopaedia, and virtual library, which includes interfaces in Balinese, Indonesian and English. It is managed by BASAbali, a collaboration between multiple actors, including scholars, governments, artists, and community members from within and outside of Bali, Indonesia. The programme intends to revitalize endangered local languages by actively involving people in and outside local communities in the valorisation of those languages, especially by engaging them in content development. This initiative is designed to serve as both a Balinese language reference tool and a translator of the content into Indonesian and English, and aims specifically to reach out-of-school youth, especially women and girls. Since its launch in 2011, BASAbali Wiki has been used by over half a million people and BASAbali has managed to involve a significant number of young parents, millennials and children. It now aims to extend its reach to other language communities and to expand its dictionary and virtual library, with special focus on youth, girls and underserved communities.

Programme ‘Tell me’ (Nuovo Comitato il Nobel per i Disabili, Italy)

The ‘Tell Me’ programme was initiated in 2016 by Nuovo Comitato il Nobel per i Disabili (New Nobel Committee for People with Disabilities), a non-profit organization created by Nobel laureate, Mr Dario Fo in 1997 to support disadvantaged groups through education. This programme, financed by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership for Innovation, aims to improve literacy and numeracy skills of youth and adult migrants in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. ‘Tell Me’ is an acronym for ‘Theatre for Education and Literacy Learning of Migrants in Europe’ and its methods rest on three elements; art, language learning and social inclusion, to help migrants overcome material, social and psychological barriers and achieve greater integration throughout Europe. The methodology, aligned with the national and European educational frameworks, revolves around storytelling, as a way to gradually transition from the learner’s mother language to the host country’s language. The programme also provides teachers with workshops as well as with an E-learning platform and an online materials repository gathering curriculum documents and methodological guidelines in English, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish and Turkish.