Literacy, Peace, and Indigenous Peoples

Manila Bulletin, August 5, 2011 | Go to article overview

Literacy, Peace, and Indigenous Peoples


MANILA, Philippines - Peace through literacy and language development, gender equality, entrepreneurship, and creative conflict resolution, are the themes of this year's UNESCO Annual Literacy awards. Tagum City's Literacy Coordinating Council, one of the recipients, is recognized for its Peace Management Literacy and Continuing Education, specifically for its Night Market Project and its peace education, literacy teaching and business

entrepreneurship activities that had generated jobs for its marginalized populations.

The major Literacy prizes, two of which were named after Korea's King Sejong, were won by the National Literacy Service of Burundi (for its functional literacy program related to peace and tolerance), and the National Institute for the Education of Adults of Mexico, for its Bilingual Literacy for Life program which has reduced illiteracy rates among its indigenous populations, especially the women.

The Confucius Prize for Literacy was shared by two projects. One is the US-based "Room to Read," which promotes gender equality in literacy through language publishing. Operating in nine countries - Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia - the program assists communities in developing culturally relevant materials in local and minority languages.

The other, Collectif Alpha Ujivi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was recognized for its program on Peaceful Coexistence of Communities and Good Governance in North Kivu. Its literacy enhancement activities addressed the resolution of tensions and conflicts among individuals and communities.

Initiatives like these annual awards, special recognition and celebration of International Days, among others, are coordinated and disseminated by the local UN Information Centre headed by its National Information Officer, Teresa L. Debuque who keeps us updated on important developments in the United Nations. Its calendar of special events and news and feature stories are useful resources for schools and development agencies.

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