Published in this 2008 International Year of Languages, “Why Languages Matter” provides readers with real life stories about how literacy programs in local languages are helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Indonesia for example, a program in mother-tongue prompted villagers to replant mangroves to stem the destruction of coastal areas. In Togo, a farmer began a chicken breeding business after learning about how to manage finances and resources in an Ifè adult literacy class. In indigenous communities of Mexico, bilingual teachers are noting that students who begin primary school in their mother tongue acquire literacy skills more quickly. In Benin’s Waama community, literacy classes in mother tongue are giving people access to basic health information and leading to improved overall health.
The brochure also highlights how partnerships can revitalize local languages. In Viet Nam for example, speakers of several closely-related languages now have a font that is usable on computers and the Internet, an initiative supported by UNESCO.
The MDGs were officially adopted by 189 United Nations member states in 2000. These goals seek to eradicate extreme poverty, universalize primary education, promote gender equality, improve health and ensure environmental sustainability by 2015.
- Related links:
* Download “Why Languages Matter” a SIL International publication
* 2008 International year of Languages
* Languages in Education
* Education and the Millennium Development Goals
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