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UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, has named World Vision Ghana as one of the three laureates of the 2021 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development.
The other laureates are the Media Development Center of the Birzeit University (Palestine) and the Kusi Kawsay School (Peru).
Each of the awardees will receive an award of US$50,000 at an award ceremony to be held on the 19th November 2021 during the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO.
World Vision Ghana intends to use the US$50,000 to provide a fully furnished e-library to one of its programme communities to give many more children the opportunity to read, learn and develop.
World Vision Ghana was chosen for its ‘Unlock Literacy Project’, which is an evidence-based, holistic approach to improving children’s core reading skills.
The model subscribes to the early-exit bilingual literacy approach, which believes that children learn to read fast and better when they start learning to read in their mother language.
The reading skills acquired in the mother language help children to learn a second language faster.
The Unlock Literacy project model also empowers children at the early grade level with reading competencies needed for critical thinking on local issues and taking sustainable actions on community issues.
The jury appreciated the project going beyond traditional literacy projects, being action-oriented, and promoting peer-to-peer learning and a whole-community approach.
It also commended its great potential for further scaling up and having a wider impact in the country through cooperation with the formal education sector.
Within the last three years, the Unlock Literacy project has reached 32,000 children in 217 schools and in 180 communities in Ghana.
The project is reaching 1,650 teachers and 780 community volunteers who are supporting 305 after-school reading clubs. So far, 254,000 copies of 250 titles of supplementary readers have been printed and distributed to 271 community book banks.
World Vision Ghana’s National Director, Dickens Thunde, says the award is an attestation of the good work the organization embarks on.
“At World Vision, literacy is central to our child wellbeing objectives. This award is an acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication of reading club volunteers, teachers, and World Vision staff. We hope it will inspire us all to do even more to help Ghana’s children flourish.”
World Vision’s Education Technical Programme Director, Andrew Ofosu-Dankyi, said “This award is a wonderful endorsement of what we have learned: that when we train all of our teachers on research-based best practices regarding literacy intervention, our children will respond with stronger literacy skills and critical thinking.”