Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO International Literacy Prizes

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© The Citizens Foundation

Previous laureates of UNESCO Literacy Prizes

2020 Laureates

The winners of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO on 1 September 2020, following the recommendations of an international jury.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was awarded to:

  • ‘Ageing Nepal’ in Nepal for its ‘Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons’ programme
    Managed by Ageing Nepal, a national leading non-governmental organization, the ‘Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons’ programme aims, to empower elders (still mostly illiterate in Nepal) with the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy in Nepali and English. This initiative, in a lifelong learning perspective, uses an experiential model for the learning process with a 70-unit curriculum applied to daily situations though role-play and outdoor learning. Literacy skills greatly improve elders’ experience of situations in daily life (dialling a phone, using a remote control to watch TV and using basic computer skills) and allow better integration into society. By the end of the programme, the elders can live and travel independently, communicate confidently with others, access their rights and healthcare facilities and be able to earn a living. Since 2016, the programme has served 180 elders with no or poor literacy skills. Ageing Nepal advocates for the importance of teaching and learning literacy throughout life to change perceptions and influence local governments, the community and families.

  • ‘United World Schools’ in United Kingdom for its ‘Providing Non-Burmese Speaking Out-of-School Children with Access to Education’ programme
    This programme, managed by United World Schools (UWS), an international charity, provides primary education to children living in remote and marginalized communities in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Nepal. In Myanmar, the programme is focused on communities in Shan State where almost all children do not speak Burmese, and are unable to attend a Burmese-only government school. The approach is to begin the teaching entirely in the children’s’ mother tongue and then transition towards the use of Burmese so that children can access the national education system and complete their basic education. The children receive 22 hours of classes per week and follow the national curriculum by studying Burmese, mathematics, science, social studies and English with a further seven hours for additional/extra-curricular subjects. UWS plans to establish a tracking/intervention system to support vulnerable students and seeks to continue its action in Myanmar, Cambodia and Nepal and to intervene in other countries as of 2021.

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to:

  • ‘Just Commit Foundation’ in Ghana for its ‘Inspirational Business Stories’ programme
    The ‘Inspirational Business Stories’ programme launched by the Just Commit Foundation (JCF), a non-profit organization created in 2017, produces books featuring inspirational business stories with eco-entrepreneurship training for teachers and students. Through these stories, the foundation provides literacy training, and encourages teachers and students to brainstorm about business models in both their local languages and English. Students can gain skills in reading, creative writing, comprehension, grammar, health and safety, STEM, business management and leadership and they can evaluate their skills through the questions in the books. The programme takes into consideration the participants’ socio-economic needs and cultural backgrounds by reaching out to people from poor urban areas, incorporating local language(s) in the training and creating business models based on the participants’ specific context. Over 500 beneficiaries, from basic and high schools, have already joined the programme. The beneficiaries have proven to be able to set up successful, sustainable businesses in environments with limited resources Over 30 schools and home businesses have been set up and are continuing to run successfully.

  • ‘University Center for Social Participation’ in Mexico for its ‘Literacy programme: learning by teaching’
    Launched in 2001 by the Centro Universitario de Participación Social (CUPS), the ‘Learning by teaching’ programme aims to boost the literacy rate in the state of Puebla in Mexico while allowing learners and educators to develop critical awareness skills; viewing themselves as agents for change in their own lives. To this effect, CUPS provides training to college students in literacy methodologies, written language acquisition processes, didactics of mathematics and strategies for planning lessons and evaluating learners to teach young people and adults in rural areas of Puebla to read and write. For nine weeks each summer, 100 students support several workshops in rural communities, involving scientific, educational, artistic training and literacy learning. Since the creation of the programme, more than 12,000 students have enrolled. The centre plans to publish its methodological resources and further enhance its methodologies to cater for native languages and vulnerable children in specific settings.

  • ‘General Literacy Office in Sanaa’ in Yemen for its ‘Educating and integrating refugees in literacy classes in Yemeni society’ programme
    The General Literacy Office, part of the Literacy and Adult Education Organization of the Yemeni Ministry of Education, provides literacy classes for refugees, who are victims of the war that started in 2014. It aims to help their integration into the community through learning the local language and acquiring entrepreneurship skills. The programme allows undocumented refugees to pass national exams and get a governmental certificate to qualify for the appropriate education levels. The goal is to ensure that by 2021, 300 refugees, particularly girls, complete a formal education course, increasing their opportunities of accessing preparatory and secondary education. Within the framework of the National Strategy for Literacy and Adult Education in Yemen, the programme teaches the basics of the Arabic language and provides numeracy skills as well as sewing, drawing, music, and computing skills.

The new Laureates were introduced during a special webinar on 8 September on the occasion of the celebration of International Literacy Day.

Download the leaflet

 

2019 Laureates

The winners of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO on 2 September 2019, following the recommendations of an international jury.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was awarded to:

  • ‘National Office of Literacy and Education for Adults’ in Algeria for its ‘National Strategy for Multilingual Literacy’ programme
  • ‘Textile Fibres and Development Company’ (SODEFITEX) in Senegal for its ‘Functional literacy and follow-up vocational training for farmers in southern Senegal in national languages’ programme

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to:

  • ‘Camacol Antioquia’ in Colombia for its ‘Obras Escuala’ programme
  • ‘BASAbali’ in Indonesia for its ‘BASAbali Wiki’ programme
  • ‘Nuovo Comitato il Nobel per I Disabili’ in Italy for its ‘TELL ME - Theatre for Education and Literacy Learning of Migrants in Europe’ programme

The awards will be presented by the Director-General in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 9 September on the occasion of the celebration of International Literacy Day.

Stories of 2019 Laureates

 

2018 Laureates

The winners of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO on 30 August 2018, following the recommendations of an international jury.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was awarded to:

  • Aid Afghanistan for Education in Afghanistan for its ‘Accelerated Education for Marginalized Women and Girls’ programme
  • The Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay for its ‘Permanent Learning Programme’

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to:

  • The Literacy Movement Organization in the Islamic Republic of Iran for its ‘Consolidated teaching of literacy and ICDL basic computer skills’ programme
  • The Nigerian Prisons Service in Nigeria for its ‘National Open University of Nigeria - Prison Study Centres and Inmates General Education Programme’
  • The Foundation Elche Acoge in Spain for its programme ‘Spanish as a second language for adult immigrants’ programme

The awards will be presented by the Director-General in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 7 September on the occasion of the celebration of International Literacy Day.

Download the brochure: English - French - Spanish - Chinese

Stories of 2018 Laureates

 

2017 Laureates

The winners of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO on 30 August 2017, following the recommendations of an international jury.

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was awarded to:

  • We Love Reading for its Programme in Jordan
  • The Centre for the Study of Learning & Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University in Canada for its programme ‘Using Educational Technology to Develop Essential Educational Competencies in Sub-Saharan Africa’

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to:

  • The Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies of the city of Armenia in Colombia for its ‘AdulTICoProgram’
  • The Citizens Foundation in Pakistan for its ‘Aagahi Literacy Programme for Women and Out-of-School Girls’
  • ‘FunDza Literacy Trust’ in South Africa for its programme ‘Growing FunDza readers and writers’

The awards were presented by the Director-General in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 8 September on the occasion of the celebration of International Literacy Day.

Download the brochure presenting the 2017 Laureates: English - French - Spanish - Chinese

Story of the five 2017 laureates

    Community engagement and online literacy learning empower girls and women in Pakistan

 

Planting the seed for the love of reading in Jordan

 

Technology helps develop literacy and numeracy in Sub-Saharan Africa

 

Reading and writing for pleasure in South Africa

 

Reducing the digital gap for seniors in Colombia

 

All laureates