Think Literacy and Peace This International Literacy Day, September 8
On September 8, the world will mark International Literacy Day, recognizing the more than 759 million adults—16 percent of the world’s population—who possess only basic or below basic literacy levels in their native languages.
The theme of this year’s International Literacy Day is Literacy and Peace. Literacy can have a tremendous impact on conflict resolution and human rights. In fact, peace projects are one of the core international initiatives at ProLiteracy, helping to address violence, cultural expression, and indigenous rights in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, and Canada.
ProLiteracy’s Literacy and Peace Initiative integrates literacy and peace building to help men, women, and children in 10 African and Middle Eastern countries develop non-violent solutions to conflict-based problems. Specifically, ProLiteracy works in Afghanistan with partner Roqia Center to peacefully change the philosophy of the Taliban through education.
Approximately 90 percent of the women and 80 percent of the men in Afghanistan cannot write their names or read a political candidate’s name. The unique program with the Roqia Center brings husbands and wives into the same classroom to learn about human rights and constitutional rights—and they enhance their literacy skills along the way.
“Programs that contribute to building safe, peaceful, and healthy communities around the world are a vital component of building a better world for us all,” says David C. Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy. “We urge the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to prioritize funding for these programs, and we encourage all Americans to consider on this International Literacy Day what they can do to move the world toward peace.”