Literacy and Sustainable Development: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, South Africa and Spain to receive UNESCO’s Literacy Prizes

© DRThe Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy (South Africa) and the International Literacy Institute for the ‘Bridges to the Future Initiative’, an innovative programme that uses information and communication technologies to empower people of all ages in rural and less developed urban areas.

The Director-General has announced the laureates of UNESCO’s 2014 International Literacy Prizes focused this year on the theme of literacy and sustainable development. The recommendations were made by an international jury, which met at UNESCO Headquarters last month.

Each of the five winners will receive $20,000 in Prize money, a diploma and a medal in a ceremony that will take place in Dhaka (Bangladesh) on International Literacy Day, 8 September.

In total UNESCO awards five literacy prizes every year: three UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy, created in 2005 with the support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China; and two UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prizes, created in 1989 with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea.

The 2014 laureates of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prizes are:

  • Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, for its ‘Basic Education for Youth and Adults Project’ which has reached close to 325,000 beneficiaries since 2011. The programme does not only teach reading and writing, but includes teaching on citizenship, health and nutrition. The teaching of indigenous populations is conducted in their own mother tongue in an approach sensitive to their worldview.
  • Burkina Faso’s Association for Promoting Non-Formal Education is recognized for the ‘Empowerment of women living in extreme poverty in Burkina Faso’ programme, which seeks to improve women’s lives through literacy education, health and sustainable economic development training, as well as providing microcredit facilities. Reaching 18,000 women to date in a multilingual and multicultural country, the programme, created in 1997, has made inroads in fighting poverty, deforestation and pollution through activities in five local languages.

The laureates of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy are:

  • The Algerian Association for Literacy IQRRA, whose name means reading in Arabic, a non-governmental organization founded in 1990, for its programme on ‘Literacy, Training and Integration of Women.’ In its work, IQRRA adopts holistic and innovative approaches to the integration of women living in extreme poverty in isolated areas, through a combination of trainings in literacy and income-generating skills. It translates literacy into income-generating activities developed by certified vocational training centres. The programme, which has supported more than 17,000 people to date, also provides former trainees with legal counselling to help them manage their new businesses.
  • Lifelong Learning School for Community Development Poligono Sur (Spain) for its ‘Networking as an Educational Project’ serving a culturally-heterogeneous population of Spanish citizens, North African migrants and members of the Roma community in a disadvantaged part of Seville. The project offers training in literacy, vocational education, out-of-school education for certification, as well as skills for employment and entrepreneurship. Through a number of community activities such as music and drama, it enhances cultural and ecological awareness. This innovative programme has successfully embedded basic literacy into the larger community development processes and demonstrated the catalytic and transformative potential of literacy. 
  • The Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy (South Africa) and the International Literacy Institute for the ‘Bridges to the Future Initiative’, an innovative programme that uses information and communication technologies to empower people of all ages in rural and less developed urban areas. It provides interactive ICT-based literacy and computer teaching to children, youths and adults in English and three African languages. The programme, started in 2007, has reached 30,000 school children and 6,000 youths and adults in Adult Basic Education and Training centres. It also focuses on sustainable development by providing learning content that cuts across health, environment, social development, and vocational education. This programme showcases a successful North-South partnership between the International Literacy Institute at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and a national South African organization working in several countries in the region.

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Media contact: Roni Amelan, UNESCO Press Service, r.amelan(at)unesco.org

 +33 (0)1 45 68 16 50

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