Advancing Literacy: A review of LIFE 2006-2009

  • September 2009

The Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE 2006-2015) is one of UNESCO’s three flagship initiatives dedicated to tackling illiteracy, advancing the EFA agenda and achieving the goals of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD – 2003-2012). The LIFE initiative targets 35 countries that are home to 85 % of the world’s population deprived of literacy competencies. It is built on genuine commitment and provides a new vision and course of action. Now that the initiative has been in place for three years, a major review has been published to take stock, assess its achievements, identify lessons learned and move forward. UNESCO prepared the review with the following aims in mind: 1) to assess the overall performance of LIFE and evaluate the results of its implementation at country level;2) to make a case for literacy; 3) to share experiences and lessons learned with interested stakeholders; and 4) to make contributions to the discussions on how to advance the LIFE strategy and to plan the way forward.

LIFE has achieved tangible results over the past three years and the policies and programmes developed are contributing to improving the lives of learners worldwide. The analysis of LIFE processes at country level and multiple lessons learnt from different approaches will help LIFE countries – and others – to formulate or revise their literacy policies and strategies in a way that is consistent with national development goals and strengthens the role of literacy and other key competencies in development efforts. This publication showcases a few of the numerous examples of how national policies have managed to respond better to needs on the ground and promote literacy learning among target populations. The gains that LIFE has achieved so far would not have been possible without the commitment and dedicated work of all stakeholders involved: governments, civil society organizations, private providers, development partners – both bilateral and multilateral – and the international community as a whole. This network of collaborative efforts reflects the true spirit of LIFE.

While much work remains to be done in order to tap into LIFE’s full potential and convening power, and to more resolutely address important issues, such as gender and the specific learning needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, the relevance of LIFE has been demonstrated and is widely appreciated. The initiative, which embraces a new vision for accelerating progress in literacy, will continue to act as a catalyst to enhance commitment, strengthen capacities, forge strong partnerships and enable mutual learning in order to make a real and tangible difference to the lives of millions of learners.



Download: Advancing Literacy: A review of LIFE 2006-2009 (PDF 3,18 MB)

  • Author/Editor: Ulrike Hanemann
  • Advancing Literacy: A review of LIFE 2006-2009
  • UIL, 2009
  • ISBN
  • Available in: English, French