UNESCO International Literacy Prizewinners 2011

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Rewarding innovation and peace-building  

The theme of the 2011 UNESCO International Literacy prizes is literacy and peace, with special consideration to gender equality.  

Prizewinners include programmes in Burundi, Mexico, the United States of America, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with honourable mentions to programmes in Pakistan and the Philippines.  

The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are awarded every year in recognition of excellence and innovation in literacy throughout the world.

The prizes will be awarded at an official ceremony on 8 September 2011 during International Literacy Day celebrations in New Delhi, India.  

Each prize consists of US$20,000, a medal and a diploma. 

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National Literacy Service - Burundi

The National Literacy Service in Burundi has won one of the two awards of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. It was recognized for its innovative approach in linking functional literacy not only to daily life issues but also to topics related to peace and tolerance, as well for its overall impact. From 2010 to 2011 alone, the programme awarded more than 50,000 certificates to new readers. 

Reading materials in minority languages - the United States of America

"Room to Read" (United States of America) has received one of the two awards of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for its remarkably effective programme "Promoting Gender Equality and Literacy through Local Language Publishing". Operating in nine countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia), the programme has helped local communities to develop culturally relevant reading materials in local and minority languages. The programme has produced more than 500 new titles in 25 languages, of which more than five million copies have been distributed. More

Literacy and good governance – The Democratic Republic of the Congo

One of the two awards of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy has been given to the Collectif ALPHA UJUVI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for its programme "Literacy for the peaceful coexistence of communities and good governance" . The programme uses an innovative model for using literacy to prevent and resolve tensions and conflicts among individuals and communities in the North Kivu region, thereby contributing to social cohesion and improved governance mechanisms. More

Literacy and rights for indigenous peoples - Mexico

The "Bilingual Literacy for Life" programme of the Institute for the Education of Adults in Mexico has won one of the two awards of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. The programme was recognized for its impact in reducing illiteracy among indigenous peoples, especially women; for improving indigenous people’s ability to exercise their rights and for providing a strong example to other multicultural and multilingual communities and countries in attaining social cohesion. More

Peace management literacy - The Philippines

The City Literacy Coordinating Council in Tagum City, the Philippines has won The Honorable Mention of the King Sejong Literacy Prize for its "Peace Management Literacy and Continuing Education through Night Market" programme. This programme uses peace education activities, literacy and entrepreneurship to generate employment opportunities for marginalized populations and sustain a peaceful urban environment. More

Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, Secretary in the Government of the Punjab, Pakistan: For the Literacy, Adult Education and Vocational skills programme

The Honourable Mention of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to the Dr. Allah Bakhsh Malik in the Punjab Province, Pakistan for programme for his leadership role in the implementation of the programme, which aims at ‘Making Punjab literate by 2020’. More

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