UN prize honours six projects for promoting literacy and women’s empowerment

Governorate of Ismailia, Egypt, train village girls in ‘Females for Families’ programme

28 July 2010 – An organization that works to enhance literacy among immigrant families in Germany and an innovative programme in Egypt to help village girls become leaders in their communities are among this year’s winners of the International Literacy Prizes awarded by the United Nations.

The prizes, awarded every year by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recognize excellence and innovation in promoting literacy throughout the world. The theme for this year’s prizes was women’s empowerment.

The six winners announced today include the State Institute for Teacher Training and School Development in Hamburg, Germany, for its Family Literacy Project. The project, with parents participating in and benefiting from their children’s learning, “provides a model for enhancing literacy in immigrant families and promoting integration,” UNESCO stated.

The General Directorate of Adult Training in Cape Verde was recognized for its Adult Education and Training Programme, which helped reduced the country’s illiteracy rate from 60 per cent to 20 per cent between 1974 and 2005.

The other winners include the Non-Formal Education Centre in Nepal for a “remarkably effective” national literacy campaign, and the Governorate of Ismailia in Egypt for its Females for Families programme, which aims to solve societal problems by training village girls to become development facilitators in their own communities.

In addition, honourable mentions went to the Coalition of Women Farmers in Malawi for the Women’s Land Rights Project, which helps women farmers achieve social and economic independence, and to the North Catholic University Foundation in Antioquia, Colombia, for its Virtual Assisted Literacy Programme, which uses e-learning to improve technology skills and employment opportunities in marginalized communities.

The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters on International Literacy Day, which is observed on 8 September.

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