Key promoters of literacy education celebrated the “International Literacy Day’ at the Chief Executive Meeting Hall in Kabul on September 4, 2018. ANAFA and DVV International were among the activists.
H.E. Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balki opened the gathering. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders to reduce illiteracy among men and women. He calls to volunteer for the action: “each one should teach one”. Patricia Mac Philips presented the literacy day message of UNESCO Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay.
In his persuasive speech the Swedish Ambassador, H.E. Tobias Thyberg, underlined that “despite the positive and admirable strides made in education throughout the past decade, adult literacy education has been one of the most neglected areas of intervention throughout the country. There remain at least 11 million Afghans above age 15, suffering from lack or low levels of reading, writing and numeracy skills. Female literacy levels are on average 12% while male literacy rates average about 40%.”
He stated that recent data present the full dimension of the problem. “In rural areas where some 74 per cent of all Afghans reside, the situation is acute: an estimated 90 per cent of women and 63 percent of men cannot read, write or compute. These women and men, boys and girls, on the edges of the global village, receive none of the benefits of globalization but suffer all its costs.
Ambassador H.E. Tobias Thyberg pointed out that literacy education is “a fundamental human right” and “an investment in the intellectual development of Afghans is not a luxury–it is essential for everything Afghanistan aims to achieve: from economic growth to peace.”
He concluded with a call for sustainable action: “Illiteracy is synonymous with exclusion and poverty. We must turn this around. This is the promise of the Agenda 2030. Among its 17 clear goals is to “ensure quality education and lifelong learning for all.”
At present ANAFAE and DVV International run literacy courses for 5814 women in in refugee resettlements.