In Northern Uganda, for example, 70% of the women are illiterate - much higher than the percentage of men (30%) or the combined national average (51%).
A direct relationship between development and literacy exists; when there is significant illiteracy, building capacity in communities is a much greater challenge.
In such contexts World Renew establishes literacy groups and classes (which often become Savings & Loan groups!). Often all World Renew has to do is link these groups to existing services offered by the government. In this way they assure that graduates are officially recognized with government certificates. World Renew is also involved with providing books for new literates to read in their own languages through setting up ‘box’ libraries.
Participating in literacy classes
- builds self-confidence
- expands ones’ view of oneself and the world
- opens participants to knowledge and information beyond their immediate context
- increases support for children’s education
- increases social cohesiveness
- increases the social status of women & youth
- offers opportunities to learn about health, agriculture, and small business
- offers a secure space for participants to practice organizational capacity and leadership skills
- offers an opportunity for class participants to reflect on local problems and plan action
- moves people towards training and financially supporting development activities
- contributes towards managing development activities
- makes development activities possible, because concrete action can occur upon problem analyses that took place in the class
- contributes to the sustainability of change in communities
- builds trust among participants and with the community