03.09.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Int. Literacy Day 2013: Testimonies from a village in Senegal

Gnima Diouf's business is flourishing thanks to literacy classes. ©UNESCO/Anne Müller

In preparation for the International Literacy Day celebrated on 8 September, UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar went to Soucouta, a small fishing village on the west coast of Senegal to ask female learners and facilitators about their literacy experiences.

They take part in a literacy project for girls and women in Senegal entitled PAJEF (Projet d’alphabétisation des jeunes filles et jeunes femmes).

Coordinated by UNESCO Dakar and launched in January 2012 for a two year period, the PAJEF project aims to improve access to education for 40,000 neo-literate and illiterate women aged 15 - 55.  The project offers literacy classes, with a strong link to income-generating activities. It is carried out in national languages and French.

Three testimonies:

  • Video: Ngor Dioufliteracy facilitator for some 30 women in Soucouta, explains the impact of literacy for these women and the challenges of coping with drop-outs and teaching about taboos (in French only).
  • Video: Gnima Diouf, who sells fish products, shares how literacy classes have made her business flourishing.
  • Article: Binetou Thior, a young mother of two, shares her literacy story, from dropping out of secondary school to joining a literacy classe to help other women become literate.

Please also check out our literacy photo gallery.

About International Literacy Day

The International Literacy Day is celebrated each year on 8 September. This year, the theme is Literacies for the 21st Century.

Over the years, the notion of literacy has evolved. The conventional concept limited to reading, writing and numeracy skills is still in wide use, as well as the notion of functional literacy which links literacy with socio-economic development. But other ways of understanding “literacy” or “literacies” have emerged to address the diverse learning needs of individuals in knowledge-oriented and globalized societies.


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