Three programmes featured in UNESCO’s Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase) are among the projects recognized by the 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes.
LitBase, an online platform administered by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), is an important tool for the global promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning. The collection of more than 220 comprehensive case studies from more than 70 countries provides examples of effectively designed and delivered programmes that develop literacy and numeracy, with the aim of disseminating and inspiring best practice.
The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are given on International Literacy Day, marked each year on 8 September with reflection on the achievements and challenges in advancing the global literacy agenda. With a thematic focus on ‘Literacy in a digital world’, this year’s prizes will be awarded to five programmes, in recognition of their excellence and innovation in leveraging digital technologies to promote literacy. Three out of the five programmes feature as case studies on Litbase:
Launched by Taghyeer, a Jordanian non-governmental organization in 2006, this programme aims to bring about positive social change throughout Jordan and the Arab world by creating a new generation who love reading. It seeks to achieve its goals by establishing a library in every neighbourhood in Jordan, while training and mobilizing adults, women in particular, as reading-aloud volunteers for children, thereby promoting reading as a shared value across generations.
The Adult Literacy Programme is named ‘Aagahi’, meaning ‘creating awareness’ in Urdu. Launched by the Citizens Foundation – one of the largest non-profit organizations in Pakistan in 2005, this programme, as its name suggests, aims to foster active social engagement among community members, primarily women and out-of-school girls, by providing them with training in basic reading, writing and numeracy skills. One highlight of the programme is its use of a mobile phone-based data collection system, which enables efficient and effective monitoring and evaluation of its activities.
The FundZa Literacy Trust, a non-profit organization based in South Africa, has, since 2011, sought to cultivate a culture of reading and writing for pleasure among the country’s youth, especially those from low-income or under-resourced communities. FundZa provides material that young people want to read, that will develop their understanding of the world around them and that exploits the most accessible media available so as to engage as many young people as possible. An online platform serves as a centre for reading sources as well as a space where learners can practice their literacy skills and exchange ideas.