Literacy for Life
A community campaign
over two years to extend the ‘Yes I Can!’ community literacy campaign to Brewarrina, Walgett and Weilmoringle in far west NSW.
Research shows literacy is a gateway to improvements in health, education, employment, crime rates and community safety. The children of literate adults perform better in school and the entire community benefits from other outcomes directly linked to adult literacy. With an estimated 40% of Aboriginal adults having minimal English (higher in remote areas), literacy is clearly a major barrier to ‘closing the gap’.
The UNESCO-award-winning Yes I Can! campaign is designed to raise literacy levels quickly, at low cost, across a region. Over six million people are now literate as a result of implementation in 29 countries in the past 15 years. Literacy for Life’s is the first implementation in Australia.
Unlike other literacy programs, the focus is on helping to build a community culture that values and supports learning. The differentiator is the involvement of community members who are trained as campaign teachers or facilitators. From the very beginning, the onus is on the community to take ownership for delivery of the campaign, focusing on long term change rather than a temporary fix.
VFFF was motivated to support Literacy for Life at a crucial point in their development; having completed a successful pilot in Bourke, Wilcannia and Enngonia but requiring a substantial injection to begin the upscale across the far west.
“In Western NSW, we are seeing graduates setting personal goals for the first time and taking action on them – to overcome drug and alcohol addiction, regain care of their children, manage welfare payments, meet justice system requirements, avoid destructive behaviours and deal with conflict within the family and community. Literacy is a pathway into a better quality of life and provides people with a sense of empowerment over their own, family and community futures.”