240,000 Egyptian adults learn to read with help of mobile app (Wired UK)


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Almost a quarter of a million illiterate adults in Egypt, around
70 percent of whom are women, have learned to read with the help of
mobile technology provided by the Vodafone Foundation.

The Vodafone Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the big red
network and it has made the announcement to coincide with
International Literacy Day. The number of adults who have graduated
from the country’s Knowledge is Power programme currently stands at
240,000 and is soon set to reach 300,000.

The Vodafone Foundation works to identify struggles in each of
the countries the network operates in, before working with local
organisations to bring solutions to citizens of those countries. In
Egypt it has been working with the country’s General Authority for
Literacy and Adult Education to make use of a free mobile app to
encourage higher rates of literacy among its adult population –
and women in particular.

“Locally in Egypt there are 18 million adult Egyptians who are
illiterate, so after the initial political upheavals, the
Foundation said ‘what can we do to contribute most effectively
using our technology to the rebuilding of the country and of civil
society,’” the Foundation’s director Andrew Dunnett tells
Wired.co.uk. “The overwhelming view was that if people can’t read
and write it’s very difficult to have a fully functioning democracy
so they wanted to work in that space.”

Three local NGOs — the Life Makers Foundation; the Coptic
Evangelical Organisation for Social Services and the Rotary Club of
Egypt — support the project and it relies on a community of
volunteers to ensure those in rural communities have access to
literacy education.

The app can be downloaded on to smartphones and some feature
phones and is used in combination with classroom sessions run by
trained facilitators. For women, this allows them to learn around
their other commitments and access lessons in venues such as
community centres, schools and mosques, which they commonly
frequent.

According to a report recently published by Vodafone in
conjunction with Accenture and Oxford University, literacy schemes
delivered using mobile platforms have the potential to help 5.3
million women, primarily from developing countries, to learn to
read by 2020.

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8 September 2014 | 5:34 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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