Goal 4 Quality Education
Goal 5 Gender Equality
Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities
Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab World and the third most populous on the African continent, but over a quarter of those living there cannot read or write. The statistics highlight a significant gender gap as illiteracy affects 18.5% of Egyptian men and 33.6% of Egyptian women. This divide is reflected in the country’s employment levels, with Egypt having one of the lowest proportions of women in the workplace in the world.
The Vodafone Egypt Foundation, in partnership with Coptic Evangelic Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), Rotary Clubs and General Authority for Literacy and Adult Education (GALAE), recognised there was an opportunity to increase adult literacy in the country using mobile technology. With this in mind, and with a particular focus on teaching women to read and write, the Knowledge Is Power programme was launched in 2011.
Using a free Vodafone literacy app, women are able to learn at home and in their own time. The app uses pictures and a talkback function to make the process easier and more flexible. The user simply taps a letter and is then told how to pronounce it via audio functionality. While the app can be downloaded onto any smartphone, there is also the option of a basic feature phone version. The app is used in conjunction with local classroom sessions that last three to six months, after which there is a final exam, provided by the General Authority for Literacy and Adult Education.
They’ve got the power
Over 480,000 illiterate adults have enrolled in classes across 7 regions in Egypt since the launch of the Knowledge of Power programme. Approximately 70% of graduates are women, increasing opportunities for female financial and social inclusion. Knowledge Is Power has now been expanded to improve Egypt’s educational system, working across 50 schools with the goal of reducing school drop out rates in 3 of the country’s most deprived regions.
“My little boys Islam and Muhammed would get sick and need medicine with instructions that I didn’t understand. There were times when I took the wrong bus, when I signed a trust receipt and the time where I signed to give up my rights…all of this shows that ignorance is like being in darkness. Now I can read, no one can make me sign something I don’t want to and no one can fool my children and make them sign things. The one who said that knowledge is power and a weapon spoke the truth.”
Wafaa Mohammed Ramadan, aged 53, Old Cairo, Egypt
Egypt 26.8206° N, 30.8025° E
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