16.09.2009 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Education Leads to Lasting Peace

@UNESCO/M. Amin Sadiqi

“I had always the dream to become literate, now, with the help of UNESCO, there is literacy class in our village and I am able to read and write”, said Hamida, a 19 year old girl, who has recently finished the literacy class in Bamiyan.

Today UNESCO celebrated jointly with the Bamiyan government and UNAMA the International Literacy Day (08 September) as well as the International Peace Day (21 September) in Bamiyan province as one of the UN Peace Campaign activities. “These days are important to mark, considering that we are in a country that has only recently emerged from two and a half decades of devastating conflict and has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. Literacy is the foundation to build and sustain peace”, said Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Kabul Director.


Hamida- the new literacy learner reads her own hand-writing

Mrs. Habiba Saraba the Governor of Bamiyan province appreciated the UNESCO and international efforts to fight against illiteracy in the country. “However, it is us, at the end of the day to stay committed on illiteracy eradication and bringing sustainable peace; if we want to have a peaceful and democratic society, we have to take serious action for providing education opportunities to all Afghans” she emphasized.



Afghanistan is one of the least literate countries in the world where one of each two adults cannot read and write. The gender is a big issue- only one out of five adult females posses the basic reading and writing skill.


Bamiyan is one of the provinces where UNESCO runs the Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan “ELA” programme in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education.  Its pilot project in Bamiyan started last November has achieved a remarkable success with almost 90% graduates who marked considerable learning results even winter time.  ELA is one of the biggest literacy initiatives in Afghanistan that aims to provide literacy and life skills to 600,000 illiterate people in the course of next five years. Funded by the Government of Japan, the program particularly focuses on women - 60% of the total benefited literacy learners will be women.


UNESCO is working in Afghanistan since 2003 to support the education, culture, communication and information sectors. Technical assistance on developing the Ministry of Education’s five year strategic plan, conserving the World Heritage Sites of Bamiyan and Jam Minaret and assisting in the process of fair and transparent flow of information are among key UNESCO’s activities in the country.

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