Keeping People at the Heart of Literacy – Our Commitment
In the wake of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s UNESCO International Literacy Day calls for a “human-centred” approach to rebuilding educational opportunity for both children and adults. While the pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the urgent need to democratize access to online learning resources, it has also taught us that digital access alone will not guarantee disadvantaged communities’ right to education.
“The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.”
Above, Dr.Leila Bashir, international expert in REFLECT literacy and our collaborator in Women’s Education Partnership, pictured while visiting El-Fatih literacy circle before the pandemic. The pandemic has made us value even more the power and connectedness of in-person teaching and the chance to interact with and support learners in physical communities.
“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting 773 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programmes have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.”
Above, one of our literacy participants attending literacy classes with her young daughter before the pandemic.
“Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Watch this year’s International Literacy Day Video here:
At the beginning of the pandemic, many countries did not explicitly include adult literacy programmes in their education response plans. The majority of existing adult literacy programmes were suspended, with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open air, where possible.”
Our Literacy Commitment in Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Times
Young and old sharing knowledge and experience in their literacy circles. These photos were taken before the pandemic.
While we are striving to improve access to digital learning for our literacy communities, we recognize that many obstacles still remain. The economic impact of the pandemic, coupled with existing infrastructure weaknesses and recent flooding have led to water and power shortages throughout Khartoum. Most of the communities we serve have little or no regular power supply and are unlikely to have for the near future. That means maintaining Covid-safe in-person learning and support has been the bedrock of our approach over the past year. It has enabled us to restart our literacy groups safely, really keep in touch with our participants and support them quickly and directly when needed. While always abiding by Ministry of Health Covid guidelines, our staff in Khartoum, led by Neimat Issha and Adila Osman have courageously been there, on the ground, for our beneficiaries throughout the pandemic.
See more on our Covid-19 awareness and prevention work in Coronavirus – Our Prevention Work and
Above, one of our literacy graduates, photographed in 2019, proudly holding her certificate awarded by The Ministry of Education upon completing the literacy programme and passing state literacy exams. Our literacy participants can once again look forward to graduating and using their literacy skills after completing their literacy programme in Covid-safe settings.
Above, participants in Jebel Awlia literacy circle, pictured before the pandemic.
Join our online celebration of International Literacy Day tonight! See details below.
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