Illiteracy: A Global Challenge

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 771 million adults around the world cannot read. Eighty-five percent live in 35 countries and more than two-thirds are women.

The consequences become evident in the numbers. For example, in one African country alone the literacy rate among men is 26% while among women it is 11%.

Another consequence of illiteracy is the pressure put upon the population dynamics because of family size. Literate women average 2 children per family while illiterate women give birth to 6-8 children.

Literacy ought to make a difference in a woman's life and consequently in the life of her family.

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  • Educated women are more likely to use health clinics and return to the clinic if their children's health does not improve.
  • Educated women tend to begin their families at a later age and have fewer, healthier children.
  • A 1% rise in women's literacy is 3 times more likely to reduce deaths in children than a 1% rise in the number of doctors. (Based upon a United Nations study of 46 countries.)
  • For women, 4 to 6 years of education led to a 20% drop in infant deaths
  • Women with more education generally have better personal health and nutrition.
  • The families of women with some education tend to have better housing, clothing, income, water, and sanitation.


Prayer Corner

  • Global Conference on Health in Geneva, Switzerland 
  • Heather-Dawn Small travel to SSD 
  • Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day
  • Women's Ministries Literacy Centers around the world.



August 22: Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day. For more information and to download free packet, visit