Finland continues to support a literacy programme in Afganistan

Finland continues to support a literacy programme in Afghanistan

Finland and UNESCO signed an agreement on Finland´s additional contribution to UNESCO´s Enhancement for Literacy of Afghanistan (ELA) programme on 7 June 2016.

This additional support of 2 Million euros to the ELA-programme is a continuation to the Finland´s support that started in 2014.

Ambassador Anne Meskanen signing the agreement on the Finnish support to UNESCO´s ELA-programme. Foto: UNESCO
Ambassador Anne Meskanen signing the agreement on the Finnish support to UNESCO´s ELA-programme. Foto: UNESCO

With this support the programme aims to provide literacy and numeracy skills to over 12 000 youth and adults in provinces of Farah, Logar, Pajsher and Parwan. At least two thirds of the beneficiaries will be women.

Enhancement of Literacy for Afghanistan programme started in 2008. By the end 2017 the programme will have reached out to approximately 1,2 million youth and adults in all 34 Afghan provinces. In addition to Finland, the UNESCO programme  is supported by Japan and Sweden.

In addition to providing literacy classes the programme aims to enhance the quality of literacy education and strengthen national capacity of relevant actors working on literacy education.

Ambassador Anne Meskanen (the right side), Minister of Education of Afghanistan Dr Hanif Balkhi and Director and representative of UNESCO office in Afghanistan Patricia McPhillips participated the signing ceremony. Foto: UNESCO<br/>
Ambassador Anne Meskanen (the right side), Minister of Education of Afghanistan Dr Hanif Balkhi and Director and representative of UNESCO office in Afghanistan Patricia McPhillips participated the signing ceremony. Foto: UNESCO

Literacy can change a life

The signing ceremony was hosted by the Minister of Education Dr. Assadullah Hanif Balkhi. In her speech Ambassador Anne Meskanen underlined the importance that education and literacy have in reducing poverty and creating social justice.

"The results of the ELA programme have demonstrated how literacy can changes lives of women and men. Education empowers women and girls. A literate woman improves the wellbeing of the entire family and community", said Ambassador Meskanen.

Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It is estimated that 31 % of adult population in Afghanistan can read, while only 17 % of women can read. Literacy rates are even lower in the countryside.

Embassy of Finland in Kabul