News / Africa

Liberia Literacy Program Targets Women

Ciata Victor instructs an unidentified lady inside her  Internet cafe in Monrovia, (File photo).
Ciata Victor instructs an unidentified lady inside her Internet cafe in Monrovia, (File photo).
TEXT SIZE - +
Jennifer Lazuta
— A new education program in Liberia is teaching women in their 30s, 40s and 50s how to read and write - something that only a quarter of the country’s women can do. The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that more such second-chance programs are needed to educate the world’s estimated 516 million women who remain illiterate.

More than two-thirds of all illiterate adults are women. The majority of the women live in West Africa, where many girls never get the chance to go to school.
 
Pauline Rose, head of UNESCO’s global monitoring report on Education for All, said that being illiterate poses a huge problem for women in day-to-day life. 

"Some of the things people say is: that I can’t read the number on buses; I can’t pick up a medicine bottle and read the label and understand how many spoons of the medicine to take, for example. So there are real practical concerns about when women are illiterate," she explained. "It affects not only themselves but also their families. They are often the main caregivers for children. And when women are illiterate they are less like to make use of health services.”
 
Rose noted that illiterate women are also more likely to die in childbirth and that their children are more likely to be malnourished.
 
Some countries, such as Senegal, have improved women’s literacy rates through government efforts to enroll more girls in primary school and community awareness programs on the importance of female education.  But there are still many countries, such as Guinea, Niger, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso, where less than one in four women can read and write.

Rose said literacy programs that target women are needed in these countries.
 
“In terms of this huge number of young women and adults who are already illiterate, there is obviously a need to have second-chance programs to ensure that they are able to become literate. That we can’t neglect them, just because they are no longer of primary school age,” stated Rose.
 
In Liberia, where just 27 percent of women are literate, the government has launched a massive second-chance literacy campaign to teach women.  The women either never got to go to school or were forced to drop out due to the country’s more than 10 years of civil war.
 
 Lonee Smith, 35,  a student at the Firestone Liberia Natural Rubber Company’s adult literacy school in Margibi County, said having a second chance at education has changed her life.
 
“Today, I am a happy woman. I’m very proud. I’m in the first grade. I can read and write," she said. "In the past, I couldn’t do that. My parents never sent me to school. But today I am happy that I can read and write. I’m a market woman. Now, I can sell my goods and count my profit with no one helping me. I am grateful."
 
Liberia’s Ministry of Education said there are approximately 5,000 women, such as Smith, currently enrolled in adult literacy programs across the country.

UNESCO’s Rose said that while this is a good step forward, such programs need to be expanded in order to reach the millions of other women.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid