UNESCO and Procter & Gamble launch partnership to promote education for young girls and young women
UNESCO and the multinational consumer product company Procter & Gamble’s Always brand have launched a partnership to promote literacy for young girls and young women. The announcement coincides with International Literacy Day, 8 September.
“A major world corporation like Procter & Gamble can give added impetus to our drive for global literacy,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. “UNESCO warmly welcomes the commitment of private business to support literacy among girls and women. Indeed, poor education is at once the result and the cause of the continuing gender-gap that deprives women of their right to take charge of their lives.”
Overcoming the gender gap is one of UNESCO’s major priorities. In a world that still numbers 793 million illiterate adults, women account for two thirds of those who cannot read and write. And girls account for 53 % of the 67 million primary-age school children around the world who are not receiving the education to which they have a right.
The first project launched under the partnership concerns girls’ literacy in Senegal, where, in 2006, fewer than 45% of women could read or write. Educational kits and digital resources will be made available to train and support more than 1,200 teachers who will devote 600 hours of literacy and life skills teaching to girls in Senegal.
Aïssa Maïga, the Senegalese-born French actress, is the “Godmother” of the Always-UNESCO Literacy Project for Young Girls and Young Women in Senegal, which is financed from a percentage of sales generated by some of the corporation’s Always feminine hygiene products in France and via a dedicated Facebook page. The project is to be implemented in the regions of Diourbel, Fatick, Kédougou, Matam, Saint-Louis and Tambacounda.
Two facts can be used to illustrate the importance of improving the rate of literacy among girls: HIV/AIDS spreads twice as fast among illiterate girls and women as it does among those some literacy skills. A baby born to a literate mother has a 50% better chance of living to the age of five than one born to an illiterate woman.
Members of the public are invited to support the project by liking it on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/always).