20.12.2016 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Sanayee Development Organization (SDO) is awarded the UNESCO 2016 Bibigul Literacy Prize

On 20 November 2016, the UNESCO Office in Kabul organized a ceremony to present the UNESCO 2016 Bibigul Literacy Prize to Sanayee Development Organization (SDO).  SDO is an indigenous non-profit organization that was established in 1990. It has been working mainly in the rural areas of Mazar-Sharif, Herat, Ghor, Badghis and Ghazni provinces of Afghanistan to serve the deprived and underprivileged communities in different social sectors including peace building, community development, capacity building and education. In literacy education, SDO’s main focus is on literacy for girls and women, youth empowerment and vocational trainings for youths.  

The UNESCO 2016 Bibigul Literacy Prize was initiated by the UNESCO Office in Kabul with financial support from the Governments of Japan, Sweden and Finland to recognize the outstanding works of governmental, non-governmental organizations and other institutions which implement innovative and effective approaches for youth and adult literacy education in Afghanistan.

The prize was named after Her Excellency, Mrs. Rula Ghani, and First Lady of Afghanistan who is also the Literacy Goodwill Ambassador. The prize was launched on 12 July 2016 by Mrs. Ghani through a video message which was posted on UNESCO’s website and Facebook page, and widely broadcasted by Tolo TV.

The award ceremony started with welcome remarks by Ms. Naomi Matsumoto, ELA Program Manager; she extended UNESCO’s gratitude to the First Lady, H.E Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, Minister of Education, H.E. Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, Deputy Minister for Literacy and all distinguished guests for their participation in the awarding ceremony.

Ms. Patricia McPhillips, Director and Representative of UNESCO to Afghanistan emphasized on the importance of this initiative by saying that “UNESCO launched the Bibigul UNESCO Literacy Prize in 2016, to highlight need for investments in adult literacy with a focus on gender, including new information, new curriculum and communication technologies.” She commended Afghanistan’s great strides in literacy education since 2001, and stressed that a lot more needs to done in this era. She then assured the audience of UNESCO’s commitment in continuing to help the Afghan Government to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become responsible and productive citizens who will contribute to an inclusive, peaceful and sustainable development of the country.  

H.E. Dr Balkhi thanked UNESCO for starting this initiative in Afghanistan and underlined the importance of this program for recognition of literacy programs and effort in Afghanistan. H.E. Dr. Rahimi, Deputy Minister for Literacy noted Afghanistan’s low literacy rate and acknowledged UNESCO’s continuous efforts in promoting literacy for youth and adults in the country. Dr. Rahimi also stated that the Bibigul Literacy Prize can be the turning point for many innovative and effective activities in the area of literacy.  

H.E Mrs. Rula Ghani began her speech by highlighting the importance of literacy in improving the daily lives of all Afghans and explained how it is emphasized and reflected in Islam. The First Lady thanked UNESCO for associating the 2016’s literacy prize with her name before presenting the prize to this year’s winner, Sanayee Development Organization, which was recognized for their efforts and services to literacy in Afghanistan. 

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