Literacy & Life Skills Development
UNESCO is committed to the improvement of literacy and empowerment projects in Iraq in both formal and non-formal sectors.
Empirical evidences clearly suggest that Iraq face a situation of increasing number of out-of-school children and adult illiteracy, especially in the rural areas, among youth and adults, and among women and socially marginalized groups.
It has been found that there is a latent demand for education among the poor, especially women and girls, who not only realize the value and importance of education, but frequently want to attend schools and literacy classes in order to lead a peaceful and better life. They acknowledge the empowering role of education. Ability to read and write is seen as a necessity to access information, and above all, to walk with one’s head high and participate at local level in the national effort of peace building.
The post-war Iraqi situation points to the immediate needs for:
- Literacy, numeracy, problem solving and productivity skills to enhance capacity for labor and to creatively respond to income-generation opportunities.
- Knowledge and skills required for healthful living, use of new techniques of production and intelligent and sustainable use of natural and environmental resources.
- Awareness of their rights to self-hood, to independent thought and decision-making and their own role for their development with reference to education, health, family and occupational pursuits.
- Overcoming ignorance, fatalism, attitudes of indifference, enhancement of self-esteem, developing of the value of cooperative living, ability to take positive initiatives and actions on their own behalf.
Accordingly, UNESCO established one National Literacy Resource Centre in Baghdad and 4 Community Learning Centres in Baghdad, Al-Muthanna and Dyala governorates in order to provide learning opportunities to illiterate and semi-literate adult girls and women (aged 18+) through delivering literacy classes and providing them with income-generation and life skills. Training workshops and study tours have been organized to provide better exposure to the Directors of the new established centres to good practices in non-formal education.
In addition, a plan for launching a National Advocacy Campaign in Iraq is also being developed. Prior to this, advocacy materials (t-shirts, TV spots, radio spots, posters, etc.) were designed and printed for use in the actual launching of the national campaign.
UNESCO also provided, in collaboration with the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, literacy and peace education classes to semi-literates and illiterates in the southern Marshlands to enable them to obtain an official certificate for the completion of primary education from the Ministry of Education in Baghdad.
UNESCO has also worked on establishing a Youth Centre in Basra, together with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), to deliver literacy and skill-development courses to Iraqi students aged (7-18) in both Basra and the Marshlands.