The Bank and literacy promotion in Africa

12/09/2008
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To support its activities in promoting literacy in line with the UN 2003-2012 Literacy Decade, the African Development Bank developed a strategy to guide its interventions in the areas of adult education, including literacy training. The overall goal is poverty alleviation through investments likely to create adequate conditions to achieve the expected results, namely improvement of knowledge base and skills of the African populations and especially women. 

In its Regional Member Countries, the Bank  has channeled its interventions in support of adult education and literacy through projects in the areas of education, poverty alleviation and/or through other specific  projects. These operations have supported the construction of literacy training centers, the design and delivery of pre-literacy and post-literacy training activities as well as capacity building. In Mali for example 16,809 persons, including 43 per cent women received literacy training. The ongoing follow up project in Kayes and Koulikoro regions will construct and rehabilitate 300 literacy training centers by 2011 and provide literacy training to 15,000 persons, including 50% women in collaboration with the Education IV project, which will provide functional literacy training to about 50,000 persons, including 60 per cent women. In Senegal, 36,000 persons, including 84 per cent women, received literacy training. In Burkina Faso a Bank-financed education project constructed 100 literacy centers while in Niger an education project also constructed 100 literacy centers, trained 100 female literacy instructors, 200 facilitators of rural libraries and 638 members of the managing boards of literacy centers. A total of 10,092 women were trained. In Bissau Guinea about 598 women were reached through an education project in the Quinara, Tomballi et Bissau regions. In the Democratic Republic of Congo the Education Sector Support project has focused on building capacity of the Ministry in charge of literacy by training management and technical staff as well literacy instructors in program planning, design, implementation and monitoring.

With the conviction that beyond the 3 R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) literacy is essential for basic education, lifelong learning, empowerment, good governance and sustainable development, the Bank wishes to strengthen its cooperation in this area with specialized institutions such as Conseil Régional pour l’Education et l’Alphabétisation en Afrique (CREAA), a 16-country organization established in 1974, as well as all other bilateral and multinational partners.