UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy
Before applying please take five minutes to read the eligibility criteria below. Programmes and digital solutions will be assessed according to what extent they meet the following criteria:
Focus on, or applicability for, low-literate, low-skilled users: Does the digital solution focus on serving low-skilled, low-literate youth and adults, or those who cannot read or write? Could a more general digital solution be successfully applied to those users?
Livelihoods support: Does the digital solution serve in some way to improve the livelihoods of its users and include them in the digital economy and society?
Thematic alignment: Does the digital solution relate to one or more of the five focus areas:
- e-Health services;
- e-Agricultural extension services;
- e-Administration/e-government services;
- e-Services for migrant people (for example, those fleeing conflict and crisis);
- e-Green/environmental services (for example, creating more sustainable consumption and production patterns).
Use of technology: Does the digital solution use interactive ICTs that allow users to both consume and engage with information e.g. through mobile devices (phones or tablets), PCs and the web? (Broadcast ICT, e.g. radio and TV, can be considered when used in conjunction with interactive ICTs.)
Designed with users: How well have the needs and challenges of the target audience been understood? Has a user-centred design approach been followed in developing the solution? In the words of the Principles for Digital Development, have you ‘designed with the users’?
Content appropriateness: Is the level of language and the complexity of the content appropriate to the target audience?
Holistic approach: To what extent is the design digital i.e. does it take into account factors that enable or constrain usage? To what extent was the user community involved in the design and ongoing use of the system?
Monitoring and improving: Have monitoring mechanisms been put in place to understand usage, and is the data constantly evaluated and used to improve the solution – what the Principles for Digital Development call “data-driven”?
Constant innovation: To what extent is the programme piloting new approaches, adding new features, trying to reach new users, re-evaluating and improving its evaluation and monitoring approach? As with the Journeys to Scale initiative by UNICEF and CEI, of interest here is the strength of the approach over proven impact (this means we can remain open to innovations that inspire and hopefully lead to demonstrated success).
Instructiveness/relevance: Does the digital solution reveal approaches and design decisions that can be used by technology providers and implementers wanting to be more inclusive? Do the salient features of the solution -- in part or in entirety -- offer promising models that can be distilled into the UNESCO guidelines?
Who can apply?
- Anyone - NGOs, corporates, start-ups, government and even individuals
- Anywhere - Digital solutions can come from any country, regardless of income level. Low skills and low literacy levels are not just issues in developing countries: the European Commission notes that in Europe an estimated 20 per cent of adults lack the literacy skills they need to function fully in a modern society.
- Any interactive digital solutions will be considered: from low-end dumb phones to high-end tech such as Virtual Reality. There is no restriction on the range of interactive ICTs, in fact a mix showing the range of possibilities is desired.
- Digital solutions should be live, active for at least one year and replicable, with plans for future growth. In other words, projects that are no longer active will not be considered.
- Solutions that have been well documented by UNESCO before will not be considered in the final selection.
Guiding principles of final selection
The following principles will guide the selection of the final cases.
- Diversity: In selecting the case studies we will seek, where possible, diversity and balance -- in terms of geography, income level of country, technology used, target audience, focus areas, amongst other factors.
- Representation: The project will select only fifteen case studies so not all regions and countries may be represented. Instead, the solutions should be illustrative of the diversity of ways in which inclusive ICTs can support and serve low-skilled and low-literate youth and adults.
If you meet the above criteria, then please begin the application process.