The LDG has contributed to policy-making processes in the area of literacy and international development, working in particular with UNESCO through commissioned research and participation in expert consultations for the annual Global Monitoring Reports on Education for All. Several of our previously commissioned research papers (for instance, the LDG set of papers on ‘The Benefits of Literacy' (edited by Robinson-Pant) for UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2006, and commissioned paper by Rao and Robinson-Pant on 'Adult Education for Indigenous Peoples and Minorities in Asia: A Thematic Review' for the UNESCO Bangkok CONFINTEA Conference (2003) continue to have an influence on policy debates in these areas, several years after they were produced.
Policy impacts of our work include membership of key UN policy forums such as the UNESCO Literacy Decade experts group and Global Advisory Committee to the UN Girls Education Initiative as well as on-going policy research with UNESCO Institute of Statistics (LAMP). LDG is also represented on the UK Literacy Working Group (co-ordinated by the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education) by Alan Rogers, Anna Robinson-Pant and Bryan Maddox and has contributed to their current campaign on ‘Empowering women through education'.
We are now working with LWG on a capacity-building project (funded by BAICE during 2015) entitled ‘Bridging the Gap: Bringing together NGO/INGO stakeholders with academic researchers to explore how greater collaboration can inform the development of women’s literacy learning’.
Literacy programmes for sustainable development and the empowerment of women
Anna Robinson-Pant undertook literature-based research in July 2014 for the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), Hamburg. The discussion paper was commissioned as an input to the International Conference on the occasion of the International Literacy Day 2014 taking place 7-8 September in Dhaka, Bangladesh as well as for the UNESCO World Conference on ESD (10-12 November 2014 in Nagoya, Japan), supported by UIL’s Literacy and Basic Skills Programme team. Exploring how and why adult literacy programmes can contribute to sustainable development and processes of women’s empowerment, the study argues that only by looking in depth at processes of literacy learning and development can we begin to address the challenge of narrowing the gender gap in literacy attainment. The paper reviews a range of adult literacy programmes and distils principles of good practice in order to arrive at recommendations for future action.
The publication is available here.
UNESCO/IFAD project ‘Learning knowledge and skills for agriculture and rural livelihoods
Anna Robinson-Pant designed and directed the research for this IFAD-UNESCO project over 2013-14, in her role as Global Research Coordinator. She worked with researchers from the partner institutions: Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Cambodia; Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia; and the Adult Education Centre at Ain Shams University, Egypt. The project was unusual in bringing together formal, non-formal and informal learning for agriculture. Research on vocational education and skills development has rarely prioritised the agriculture sector and, when it has, tended to focus on formal and non-formal training programmes. The project broke new ground in looking at informal learning in everyday contexts and using this as the entry point for research, rather than beginning with providers and programmes. The findings were presented at a Global Seminar in UNESCO headquarters in Paris in April 2014, with key policy makers in this field. The synthesis report (based on comparative analysis of the empirical findings from the research studies in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Egypt) and a literature review (analysing key debates around youth policy, agricultural skill development, informal learning and education for rural transformation) will be published by UNESCO later this year.
Empowering women through education
Alan Rogers and Anna Robinson-Pant attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting in parliament on 15 October 2013, as representatives of the UK Literacy Working Group (the UEA Literacy and Development Group is part of this organisation). Organised by the Global Campaign for Education and the UK Literacy Working Group, the theme was: "Empowering Women Through Education: Challenges and Strategies". Several members from both houses were there for part of the time and it was chaired by Annette Brooke MP, vice-chair of the APPG. As a result, discussions are beginning with DFID and some MPs about increasing support for women's literacy, in particular with a view to increasing the effectiveness of children's schooling.
This advocacy campaign began with a seminar on women's literacy at which Anna Robinson-Pant contributed a stimulus paper. Members of LDG contributed to the booklet prepared to launch the campaign.
UN literacy decade mid-term review
Based on analysis of empirical data from UNESCO surveys of literacy programmes and initiatives, particularly in LIFE countries, Anna Robinson-Pant and Bryan Maddox contributed to the research report for the mid-term Review of the UN Literacy Decade. This formed part of the Report of the Director-General of UNESCO on the Implementation of the International Plan of Action for the United Nations Literacy Decade.