UNESCO International Literacy Prize Winners 2007

Senegal - TOSTAN - Winner of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize 2007

This non-governmental organization (NGO) works mainly in rural areas providing literacy and life skills for women around such issues as female and reproductive health, human rights and dignity, empowerment and community development.

Tostan operates outside the formal education system and is directed at people who for the most part have never attended school. Its capacity-building programme for communities aims to provide participants with life skills related to democracy, human rights, health, hygiene, literacy, business management, accounting, microcredit, etc.

Tostan programmes last for 30 months and use traditional modes of communication including discussion, song, dance, theatre and poetry. It’s implemented by specially-trained volunteers who usually belong to the same ethnic group as the community concerned. The facilitators live in the villages where they give their classes three times a week to groups of 30 participants. Each village has a class for adolescents and another for adults.

Contact Information
TOSTAN Senegal
BP 326
Thiès, Senegal
Phone: + 221 951 34 27
E-mail: info(at)tostan.org
Web site: www.tostan.org

Tanzania - The Children’s Book Project

The Children’s Book Project (Tanzania) works to develop a strong reading culture and a literate environment. It promotes local languages and strengthens the local book production industry through the training of teachers, writers, publishers and illustrators.

The Children’s Book Project, a non-governmental organization, was launched in 1991 by CODE, a Canadian charitable organization, as a measure to alleviate the acute shortage of books in Tanzania, particularly children’s books. The NGO’s aim was to develop a strong reading culture sustained by effective reading skills and the provision of quality reading materials.

CBP collaborates with publishers to produce its own selection of children’s books in Kiswahili. It then purchases 3,000 of the 5,000 copies of each title for free distribution. To date, 237 titles have been distributed to 3,642 schools in the country, and the demand for CBP-trained writers has increased in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Three-hundred and fifty-six writers, 191 of them women, have been trained in CBP workshops.

CBP also organizes training workshops for illustrators, publishers and printers. As the demands in health, environment, education and human rights practices evolve, the programme teaches new creative strategies and techniques in presenting relevant information and encourages indigenous creation. In 1997, the NGO initiated a readership programme. The programme develops primary school teachers’ skills in teaching reading and writing based on progressive child-centred methodologies.

Today, the Children’s Book Project has established 96 school libraries among 99 programme schools. Although these libraries were meant for students and teachers, community members increasingly visit them: “Data from 11 districts showed that more than 9,000 borrowers in the programme school libraries were adults. And last year,we awarded Zena Muuigi, a woman from Bingwi village in the Coast region, for having read 100 titles in a year,” CBP Assistant Monitoring Coordinator Mary Kihampa says.

The Project is bringing about social change and adults are now benefiting from this project that was started to benefit their children. “In rural areas, school libraries are centres for recreation and education, where village meetings and discussions on various issues are conducted. Therefore, adults get the opportunity to see the books and read them, discuss and apply the skills in their daily life,”Ms Dumea says, and she adds: “They inspire their friends to attend literacy classes. Frequent adult readers have gained self-esteem and personal empowerment. Women have gained confidence in speaking during village meetings and running for village positions.”

Contact Information
Ali Hassan Mwinyi Rd. 39B Ursino South
Dar es Salaam
PO Box 78245
Phone: + 255 051 760750
Fax: + 255 051 761562
E-mail: cbp@raha.com
Web site: www.cbp.or.tz

Back to top