Building peace in the minds of men and women

Meet the 2018 laureates of UNESCO education prizes

17 December 2018

From literary to sustainability, innovative learning and teaching to girls’ education, UNESCO gives prestigious prizes every year to exceptional projects that offer sustainable solutions to global challenges. Meet the laureates of 2018.  

The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are awarded to five projects for excellence and innovation in the field of literacy. The awards include the King Sejong Literacy Prize and The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.

  • Aid Afghanistan for Education was awarded for its efforts in providing learning opportunities for women and girls. The programme gives a second chance to marginalized women and girls to complete their education and fully participate in society and the labour market.
  • ‘Programa Aprender Siempre’, a project from Uruguay was recognized for promoting citizenship skills for people in detention. The programme focuses on building educational spaces and improved participants’ skills for community life, strengthened self-esteem and autonomy, and enhanced motivation for continuing learning.
  • ‘The Consolidated teaching of literacy and ICDL’, a project from Iran promotes literacy and continuing education through a range of programmes for both children and adults. They particularly target women and girls in rural areas, from minority tribes, armies, prisons and factories.
  • The Nigerian Prisons Service, a project in Nigeria promoting literacy and skills development in prisons, offers literacy courses and technical education and vocational training for inmates. The programme equips prisoners with skills and professions that can make them easily employable or self-employed upon release.
  • The Foundation Elche Acoge  from Spain was awarded for its programme ‘Spanish as a second language for adult immigrants’. The programme combines Spanish classes with courses and workshops that consist of basic computing, citizens' rights and duties, knowledge of the city, active citizenship, insight into leisure activities and cultural visits for the newcomers.

The UNESCO-Japan Prize award recognizes the role of education in connecting the social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

  • Located deep in a Namib dune valley, the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust organization has its mission to protect Namibia’s natural environment by educating its citizens to practice a sustainable lifestyle. The organization’s experiential transformative teaching methods bring sustainable living alive.
  • The Kalabia Foundation in Indonesia empowers people with the knowledge to ensure the conservation of their marine and coastal resources. It is set on an innovative floating platform that tours the islands offering 4-day intensive education programmes to children, while involving the communities.
  • Let’s Do It foundation in Estonia mobilizes millions of positive-minded, action-oriented people to tackle environmental and social problems related to mismanaged solid waste. The organization was awarded for its projects 'World Cleanup Day' and 'Keep It Clean'.

The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honours innovative contributions to successful projects that improve and promote the educational prospects of girls and women and in turn, the quality of their lives.

  • Misr El Kheir Foundation supports girls’ education in some of the poorest villages of Egypt. They empower girls to acquire literacy, life and future employment skills, and support teachers to deliver gender-responsive teaching and practices and to create safe teaching and learning environments.
  • The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation provides continuing education for pregnant adolescent girls and mothers who had to drop out of school. The Foundation’s project has become a powerful model and has replicated in countries including Grenada, Guyana, and South Africa.

The UNESCO Hamdan Prize was created to support the improvement of teaching and learning quality in achieving the Education for All goals.

  • A project from Indonesia, known as the Diklat Berjenjang, was recognized for its project promoting quality professional development to early childhood teachers.

The UNESCO ICT in Education Prize recognizes innovative approaches in leveraging new technologies to expand educational opportunities by enabling access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. Below are the laureates of the 2017 edition. The 2018 winners will be announced in March. 

  • The Connected Learning Initiative leverages ICTs to improve the chances of students from underserved communities to access secondary and higher education in India. The programme has reached 46,420 students in four Indian States so far.
  • GENIE is a large-scale, long-term national policy developed in Morocco. It aims to incorporate ICT to improve access to, and quality of, education in primary and secondary schools.