By Ellina Kushnir, Rotary Programs staff
Since the U.N. Millennium Development Goals were established in 2000, Rotary has played a role in global efforts to reduce extreme poverty and reach target goals by 2015. While great progress has been made towards universal primary education, advancements towards this goal slowed significantly over the past eight years. About 58 million primary-school-age children are currently not enrolled in school while 781 million adults and 126 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills.*
Achieving universal primary education and gender equality in schools is critical to meeting other development goals. Greater levels of education help communities fight poverty, prevent disease, and access and sustain resources for longer, more prosperous lives.*
During March, Rotary Literacy Month, replicate successful Rotary projects to continue addressing literacy, education, and gender equality at school:
- The Rotary Club of Makati North, Philippines, works with their Rotary Community Corps to provide undernourished primary school students with nutritious meals for 22 weeks. As a result, 100 more students experience fewer medical issues and miss less school.
- With the help of partners and a Rotary grant, the Rotary Club of Taipei Twins, Taiwan, provided 2,000 students’ homes in Myanmar with solar power and LED lighting. A generator, charging station, and storage units were installed at the local school. Reliable access to electricity has improved school attendance and helps students keep up with their studies.
- Rotary clubs from Malaysia and India used a Rotary grant to construct toilet blocks for girls at a public school in Chennai, India. Fewer girls miss school as a result of these new facilities.
- The Rotary Club of Tripureswor, Nepal, adopted the Gram Sudhar Lower Secondary School to improve classroom facilities and provide resources for students who otherwise cannot afford them. The club supports an early education facility, provides school uniforms, furnishes classrooms, supplies reading and educational materials, and sponsors trainings for teachers.
How else can we help?
- Conduct assessments. Determine core literacy and education needs in a particular community.
- Involve the whole family. Organize family events to empower parents and caretakers to remain actively involved in their children’s education or to seek educational opportunities for themselves.
- Find support. Add your basic education and literacy project to Rotary Ideas to connect with project partners.
Throughout the month of March, check back here for more tips, resources, and inspirational stories to help you plan club and district literacy projects. Remember to share your own basic education and literacy impact on Rotary Showcase.
*Millennium Development Goals Indicators, United Nations Statistics Division