“Literacy is the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman, and child can realize his or her full potential” — Kofi Annan
The Africa Literacy Project (ALP) is a transcontinental initiative that partners with government agencies, literacy centres, development partners, and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) providers to offer literacy courses en masse to vulnerable social groups. Our pilot project, in partnership with the Freetown City Council’s skills development working group, begins in Freetown, Sierra Leone with 250 female traders and domestic workers, 125 persons with disabilities, and 125 youth.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), literacy is defined as one’s ability to read and write a short simple statement about their everyday life (UNESCO, 2016). More than that, literacy skills allow us to understand, analyze, reflect on, solve, connect, communicate, and engage others with the written word. This grows increasingly important in a technologically enriched and connected world. Agencies like UNESCO and the Education For All movement launched in 2000 frame literacy as a right and a critical instrument for development. Literacy skills are an entry point to developing more advanced, stable, and better compensated skills for work (Worldbank, 2020; UNESCO, 2015). Literacy is also correlated with increased political participation and financial independence (UNESCO, 2006). This is especially important for women and girls who may be excluded from social and educational activities in regions like sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). …