Do your bit: Focus on days highlighting international issues International Days and Observances
International Literacy Day

8 September

GDRC endorses the
Sustainable Development
Goal #4
International Literacy Day, observed September 8 and at events throughout the week, focuses attention on worldwide literacy issues and needs. It is estimated that 860 million of the world’s adults do not know how to read or write (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) and that more than 100 million children lack access to education.

The day was originally designated in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Today, communities and countries throughout the world observe International Literacy Day in a variety of ways.

In 2023, International Literacy Day focuses on the theme:
"Promoting literacy for a world in transition:
Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies"

Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all Echildren, youth and adults - is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal.

Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels - locally, nationally and internationally.

Achieve universal primary education: Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

- United Nations Millennium Development Goals

Things to do on the World Literacy Day:

  • Use your newsletter to spread the word about the importance of literacy.
  • Sponsor a book fair, using the proceeds to enhance your program’s outreach to learners.
  • Give a book as a gift. Include a note about the importance of literacy in adult life.
  • Establish a book discussion group with adult learners.
  • Form a reading promotion partnership with a nearby public library or another basic skills/literacy program.
  • Learn about and support local literacy projects of other programs in your area.
  • Sponsor book awards.
  • Organize an essay contest about "a book that changed my life."
  • Compile a calendar of community book and reading events. Share it with local media.
  • Sponsor a book-collecting drive. Give books to nursing homes, schools, adult literacy programs.
  • Create a library for adult literacy students to use.
  • Make a video that promotes literacy in families, at work, and in community life.
  • Contact your local newspaper with a story idea about your program. Provide enough detail that they are eager to write about you.
  • Sponsor book readings with local authors or local celebrities reading from their favorite books.
  • Attend readings at your local library or bookstore.
  • Publicize and distribute lists of recommended books for readers of all ages.
  • Take a field trip to a local literary landmark.
  • Make a collection of student writings. Get your local newspaper to review it.
  • Bring teachers, volunteers, and learners together to talk about favorite books.
  • Read books aloud with adult learners.

Additional Resources:

In a very broad sense, the very nature of GDRC's work is closely related to the theme of literacy - cutting across every and all of its 15 programme activities. This approach is crystallized in GDRC's pages on (a) the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2015) and in (b) its capacity building policy.

GDRC therefore reaffirms its committment to uphold the objectives of the World Literacy Day, and work towards better understanding of, and action on, promoting and enhancing education and literacy, particularly in developing countries.

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