5 Best Ways to Promote Global Literacy in 2023

“Every child should have access to free and fair quality education”

Free and fair access to quality education is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a reason. Besides creating an enlightened society, literacy promotes development and growth.

Unfortunately, not every student can afford a quality education. We’re currently in a global literacy crisis. Since 2015, more than 400 million children have failed to develop the skills needed to read and understand simple stories before the age of ten.

Sadly, this problem has led to them missing critical literacy milestones that could help them enjoy a better future. The Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated the global illiteracy problem, leading to school closures and affecting about 1.6 billion children.

While tackling the global learning crisis may appear like a huge and challenging task, you can do a few things to join the fight and promote global literacy in the following ways:

Understand the Facts


Before promoting global literacy, you must first understand the problem at hand. Statistics from UNESCO show that about 122 million young people aren’t literate, indicating that promoting literacy for younger generations should be prioritized.

However, statistics show disparities in gender impacted primarily by illiteracy globally. While 89% of men can read and write, only 81% of women are literate. Girls represent 60% of the 122 million young persons who can’t read or write globally.

Statistics also show that illiteracy is prevalent in poor regions and developing areas like Guinea, Niger, and South Sudan. In these countries, about 70% of the population can’t read or write.

Also, in Sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, and South Asia, adult literacy rates are lower than the global average. Often, one in three adults can’t read or write in these places.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. Globally, the literacy rates for young people have increased in the last 20 years. Also, about 60% of countries across the globe have nearly or fully eradicated illiteracy among their youths.

Entrench Literacy in Other Programs

It’s not enough to promote global literacy through only standalone literacy programs. Numeracy and literacy should also be included in community development projects, especially in developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Whether the focus is on women’s empowerment or human rights, embedding a literacy program in the project will help promote global literacy in developing countries.

Volunteering at a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating global illiteracy is one way to lend your voice

Volunteer in Your Community

Another way to join the fight towards eradicating global literacy is by donating your time to charitable organizations dedicated to the cause in your community. Spending your time at a local nonprofit promoting global literacy is where your volunteer efforts will make the most tangible difference.

Some communities may appear like they don’t need literacy support. However, it’s essential to support writing and reading skills in every community, especially among underserved youths.

Marginalized groups like people with disabilities and low-income youth are at risk in every community of not having adequate reading skills. Therefore, you can still make a change wherever you are by supporting these people.

Support Nonprofits Prioritizing At-risk Populations

Although illiteracy is a global menace, it’s more felt in some countries than others. According to statistics, many developing countries experience a high illiteracy rate, especially among low-income individuals and women.

Focusing on these vulnerable populations will help address global inequality, including illiteracy. One way to join the fight against global illiteracy is to support the nonprofits committed to eradicating global illiteracy.


Donate Books

Besides donating money and your time, a more effective way to promote global literacy is through giving books. From short stories, novels, and basic alphabet books to literature promoting the development of reading skills throughout the recipients’ lives.

Some nonprofits, like the African Library Project, organize book drives in America while partnering with villages and schools in Africa to build small community libraries.

Other charitable organizations like Better World Books sell collected used books to fund literacy programs globally or donate them to people in need.

Since its launch in 2002, the organization has raised over $23.7 million for literacy projects globally. Better World Books have also donated over 20.5 million books since its establishment.

You can donate your unwanted books to any local nonprofit promoting illiteracy in your community. Simply do your research to avoid sending books to a charitable organization that doesn’t accept books.

Major Takeaway

The effect of Covid-19 has taken the giant strides recorded toward eradicating global illiteracy back some steps. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure we achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of free and fair access to quality education.

We have outlined five ways to promote global literacy, including donating time, money, and old books. Join a local organization in your community and help eradicate global illiteracy before 2030.


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