International Literacy Day 2014

Just been working with teachers in Zambia -some have ZERO reading books in their classroom and many have less than 10. This is an area with their local language of Bemba, so a few reading books in English is not going to help when they come to having to take a leaving exam in English.

Literacy development, in such confusing situations, is common in many countries, and a concerted policy and implementation process to get the best out of these children and young people. A whole generation can lose their right to quality education, due to a lack of vision and resources , in terms of literacy. One day is not enough , but we have to kkep trying :)

From INEE

literascyday

Literacy is a human right. It is a tool for personal empowerment and essential for sustainable development, poverty reduction, gender equality, maternal health, child mortality reduction, and peace and democracy. – UNESCO

Celebrated on September 8th of each year, International Literacy Day serves as a reminder of the status of literacy worldwide and of the importance of literacy in peace, development, poverty eradication, empowerment, health and gender equality.

While the number of illiterate persons has fallen over the past decade, 781 million adults, two-thirds of whom are women, still lack basic reading and writing skills. An additional 126 million youth are considered to be illiterate. More than one-half (53%) of the global illiterate population reside in South and West Asia, 24% in sub-Saharan Africa, 12% in East Asia and the Pacific, 6.6% in the Arab States and 4.2% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Less than 2% of the remaining global illiterate population live in the remaining regions combined. Living in conflict-affected areas increases the likelihood of individuals not becoming literate or gaining access to education. An estimated 28.5 million primary school aged children remain out of school in conflict affected countries. For more information on adult and youth literacy rates, click here.

While much progress has been made in improving adult and youth literacy over the past two decades and literacy rates are estimated to continue to improve in the coming years, continued efforts are needed to lessen the vast number of illiterate adults and children worldwide. Literacy not only helps reduce poverty and enables people to find jobs, but it is one of the most efficient ways of improving the health of mothers and children. UNESCO estimates that the lives of more than two million children under the age of five were saved between 1990 and 2009 because of improvements in the education of reproductive age women. Literacy also facilitates peace and democracy within societies, as poorly-literate individuals are less likely to participate in democratic processes and have fewer chances to exercise their civil rights.

Literacy and Sustainable Development

The theme of International Literacy Day 2014 is “Literacy and Sustainable Development.”  As UNESCO notes, literacy is a key element in empowering people so that they can make the right decisions in the areas of economic growth, social development and environmental integration. It plays a critical role in the development of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.

International Literacy Day iscelebrated worldwide with the main global celebration taking place in Dhaka. The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in partnership with UNESCO, in support of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), is hosting an International Conference on Girls’ and women’s literacy and education titled: “Foundations for sustainable development.” The UNESCO Literacy Prizes will also be awarded.

Power to Young Advocates

Podcast #93 – Power to Young Advocates
UNICEF

One quarter of the world’s population today is youth. Like never before, young people are using emerging technology and new media to voice their opinions, influence change and build the future they want. To celebrate International Youth Day, which is commemorated on 12 August, UNICEF’s Beyond School Books podcast series features a conversation between two young activists – Rodrigo Riaza, a Spanish Global Youth Ambassador for Education and the episode moderator, and Hannah Godefa, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Rodrigo and Hannah discuss the importance of activism and the role of education in enabling young people to fulfill their potential.

To download the podcast, click here.

 

The Guardian also posted an interesting reminder that childrens and young people’s voices are rarely heard in relation to climate change, yet they will be the most affected.

 

A World At School ?

MDGs have had some good and press lately as the new international goals are being debated. What is clear is that more children are in school, yet the quality of their education,in many cases has not improved. At present there is still a big push for getting more children in school (see below) but we hope that this push does not get in the way of improving quality.

 
#Education Countdown
A World At School

World leaders made a promise that every child would be in school and learning by 2015. Great progress has been made but 58 million children around the world are still being denied this basic right. August 18th will mark 500 days until the end of the 2015 and the MDG deadline of universal education. On that day A World at School will be launching the #EducationCountdown. At this crucial time the #EducationCountdown brings together NGOs, civil society, teachers, youth, faith based organizations and the business community in a global movement to marshal the political will and financing needed to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 of universal education. Every 100 days the #EducationCountdown will address key barriers to learning for all children and deliver results against collective milestones and targets developed in consultation with key stakeholders throughout the campaign.

To learn more about the education campaign, click here.

Protecting Schools and Children in Gaza

From INEE newsletter:

Protecting Schools and Children in Gaza
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA)

attack

After the shelling of a United Nations-run school in Gaza, senior UN officials have strongly condemnedthe attack warning against the targeting of civilians. “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children”, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who condemned the attack. For more information, see the UN News Centre. The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) calls on all parties to the conflict to respect education facilities as safe zones, emphasizing the urgent need to protect schools and children from the violence of war.

 

To see the full statement, click here.

International Youth Day – 12 August 2014

International Youth Day – 12 August 2014

 

2014 International Youth Day: Youth and Mental Health

On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

The theme of International Youth Day 2014 is “Youth and Mental Health.”

Youth with mental health conditions can often experience stigma and discrimination, which in turn can lead to exclusion and/or discourage people from seeking help for fear of being negatively ‘labelled’.

The 2014 observance of International Youth Day will raise awareness on this important topic, as well as highlight the experiences of brave, young individuals who have chosen to speak out about these issues with the objective of overcoming stigma and discrimination to ensure that young people with mental health conditions can lead full and healthy lives free from isolation and unnecessary shame, and openly seek the services and support they need.

 

From INEE

Every year International Youth Day provides us with an opportunity to draw attention to global issues around the lives and wellbeing of youth and their role, energy and enormous potential for human, social and economic development and to reaffirm the importance of engaging young people as leaders and partners.

The 2014 International Youth Day theme is “Youth and Mental Health” highlighting that ‘Mental Health Matters’. Worldwide, up to 20% of youth are affected by mental health conditions, making them vulnerable to social stigma and discrimination. But for youth and adolescents who live in conflict zones and refugee camps, this figure is estimated to be much higher.

Young people living in emergency or conflict-affected areas suffer disproportionately from mental health conditions, and exposure to war and conflict remains one of the greatest risk factors for the development of mental-health conditions among adolescents. The incidence of mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among children and adolescents who have been affected from conflict has been estimated as anywhere between 25% to 75% of the affected population.*

Globally, youth make up the majority of the more than 1.5 billion people who live in countries affected by fragility, violence, or conflict.** Many of these youth are denied access to basic education, further limiting opportunities for schooling and employment in the future. As ‘poor educational systems’ have been identified as a risk-factor for the development of mental health conditions for young people***, issues of education and quality schooling for adolescents and youth should be a high priority.

Given these challenges and the prevalence of violence and humanitarian crisis, it is crucial that awareness and support are raised around mental-health issues for young people – which will play a key role in the rebuilding and formation of peaceful societies.  A 2013 UN publication on ‘Social Inclusion of Youth with Mental Health Conditions’ calls for a ‘global conversation’ on strategies to address the challenges posed to young people by mental health conditions, with the goal of improving well-being and fostering both social and economic integration. This includes tackling stigma and also promoting social inclusion and decision-making for young people worldwide, in order to ensure that the rights, needs and aspirations of adolescents and youth affected by mental health conditions are recognized.

Day of the world’s Indigenous peoples – August 9th

In these days of global learning, it is still surprising that the centuries of indigenous knowledge is not tapped into -particularly in relation to looking after our environment.

indig

August 9 was first proclaimed International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations in 1994 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. This day also commemorates the achievements and contributions that Indigenous people make in the world. August 9 also marks the first time the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations met in Geneva in 1982.

 

This year’s theme is “Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples.” 

Cultural Survival reminds us about some of the action we can take starting from this day:

Things to do on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 

 

1.

Watch a Live Webcast of the International Day Celebration at the UN Headquarters in NY. 

Friday, August 8, 

3:00pm – 6:00pm EST.

Attend a special event online at UN Headquarters in New York will be held on Friday, 8 August, from 3 to 6pm, featuring the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, the Vice Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a delegate from a member State, a representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, and an indigenous representative. The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org.

 

2.  Make Your Voice Heard about Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

The Olkaria geothermal plant in Kenya, funded by the World Bank and supported by the UN Environmental Program, is in its fourth phase of the development. With each new phase, the Maasai of  the Naivasha region have been evicted from their homes-without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Call on the World Bank, the UN Environmental Program, and other collaborators to implement their policies through adequate compensation determined in consultation with the Maasai people. Take Action Now. 
 

3.   Raise awareness about Indigenous Rights and International Human Rights Mechanisms through Community Media.

Share these free radio programs widely about Indigenous Rights based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Available in English, Spanish, and several Indigenous languages.

 

 

 

4.    Get ready for the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples.

High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, will be held on September 22-23, 2014 in order to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including to pursue the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Read the Zero Draft Outcome Document and send comments to  findlay@un.orgindigenous_un@un.org.

 

5.  Share this poster  by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Development.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.   Read the latest issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly.
The June issue is dedicated to Indigenous Peoples of New England.

We Are Still Here:

Tribes in New England Stand Their Ground.

CSQ 38-2, June 2014.
Don’t forget to share and subscribe!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Raise Awareness about Endangered Indigenous Languages.

Send an ePostcard Audio Greeting

Engage your friends and family and raise awareness about endangered languages by sending an e-postcard with a Native language audio greeting.

 

Also take a look at the work of Survival International on the threat to many ‘uncontacted ‘ tribes of the Amazon

 

Ending the military use of schools….

From the INEE newsletter and linked to the last post on protecting education from attack

Norway: Leading Way to End Military Use of Schools
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On June 13, the Norwegian Government released a white paper on global education, announcing its support to education in crisis and conflict. The key priorities listed in the white paper include: disaster risk reduction in the education sector, protecting schools in countries affected by armed conflict, and promoting the goal of reaching 4% of global humanitarian aid to education.

Norway has proposed leading a process to finalize what are currently known as the Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use. The Guidelines urge parties to armed conflict not to use schools and universities for any purpose in support of the military effort. All parties to armed conflict should endeavor to avoid impinging on students’ safety and education.

“Norway’s commitment to championing the Guidelines represents a milestone in the journey towards securing safe learning environments for all students, including those most at risk of being denied their right to education: children and young people living in war zones across our globe,” said Diya Nijhowne, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack Director.

Click to read the white paper (only in Norwegian at this time) and to find out more about Norway’s leading role on implementing international standards for protection of schools.