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How does literacy work?

Literacy initiatives may vary from local programs, such as community or church-based literacy efforts, to NGO-sponsored programs or national government campaigns. Programs may be limited in scope or have broader holistic goals which may include health and community development objectives. Programs must also take into account that multiple languages are spoken in most communities today.

What are language communities looking for? What do they want to know? Questions come from diverse sectors worldwide by people involved in education, community development, churches, government agencies, local community leadership, NGOs and various other organizations. They want to know how they can

  • create a writing system and alphabet for an unwritten local language
  • create teaching materials for a multilingual context
  • train people so they can teach in a community-based project
  • use certain kinds of technology to produce materials
  • teach people to read and write in their own language.

The goal is to build locally sustainable literacy programs to equip minority language communities to be able to use and preserve their language, their history and their wisdom.