30 April 2018, Conakry, Guinea – What do Wroclaw, Poland and Sharjah, UAE have in common? Aside from being UNESCO World Book Capitals, the two cities joined forces recently to reduce illiteracy in Guinea, where the capital, Conakry, was last year’s World Book Capital. As part of the World Book Capital programme, the distribution of 100,000 school textbooks began last week in public schools throughout Guinea, creating opportunities for the youngest and poorest citizens in Guinea to learn to read and write. The project has the potential to change the lives of up to 500,000 children in Guinea.
The World Book Capital 2016, Wrocław, (and more than 500 Polish private and institutional donors) and Sharjah, the future World Book Capital for 2019, financed the textbooks. The Polish foundation ART TRANSPARENT is coordinating the effort, with some of the first books going to students at a primary school in Conakry’s Coleah neighborhood.
The distribution of the textbooks happened in the same week that Conakry officials traveled to Athens, Greece, to symbolically hand over the title of the UNESCO World Book Capital to the Greek capital, which takes up the baton for 2018. With this distribution, the "Books for Guinea" project, formally entrusted to the Guinean Ministry of Education and Primary Education reaches its conclusion. Recognizing that education is a fundamental right of every human being, the city of Sharjah, UAE, who will hold the title of the World Book Capital in 2019, joined the project to support the distribution of the textbooks. Guinea has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.