LitBase Features on the UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

2020 UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons programme (Ageing Nepal, Nepal)

Managed by Ageing Nepal, a national leading non-governmental organization, the ‘Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons’ programme aims, to empower elders (still mostly illiterate in Nepal) with the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy in Nepali and English. This initiative, in a lifelong learning perspective, uses an experiential model for the learning process with a 70-unit curriculum applied to daily situations though role-play and outdoor learning. Literacy skills greatly improve elders’ experience of situations in daily life (dialling a phone, using a remote control to watch TV and using basic computer skills) and allow better integration into society. By the end of the programme, the elders can live and travel independently, communicate confidently with others, access their rights and healthcare facilities and be able to earn a living. Since 2016, the programme has served 180 elders with no or poor literacy skills. Ageing Nepal advocates for the importance of teaching and learning literacy throughout life to change perceptions and influence local governments, the community and families.
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2019 UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

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.
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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.
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2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners

The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are given on International Literacy Day, marked each year on 8 September with reflection on the achievements and challenges in advancing the global literacy agenda. With a thematic focus on ‘Literacy in a digital world’, this year’s prizes will be awarded to five programmes, in recognition of their excellence and innovation in leveraging digital technologies to promote literacy. Three out of the five programmes feature as case studies on Litbase:

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.
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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.
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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.
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Past UNESCO Literacy Prize Laureates

Along with other innovative programmes, the winners of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have been featured on the UNESCO Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase) for the past several years. To learn more about past awardees, please click on the following links: