ProLiteracy Worldwide

ProLiteracy Worldwide

ProLiteracy Worldwide, a nonprofit organization based in Syracuse, N.Y., is an international organization that supports the people and programs that help adults learn to read and write.

History

ProLiteracy Worldwide was formed when Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. merged in 2002.

Laubach Literacy International’s history begins in 1930, when Dr. Frank C. Laubach was a missionary among the Maranao people of the Philippines. His concern about their poor living conditions led him to conclude that the ability to read and write was essential for them to begin to solve their problems. As the Maranaos learned to read, they would, in turn, teach other adults on a one-to-one basis that became known as “Each One Teach One.” From 1935 to 1967, Dr. Laubach visited 105 countries answering calls for literacy help and created reading lessons in 315 languages. He founded Laubach Literacy International in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1955.

For years, literacy as a global mission interested Ruth J. Colvin. She had heard Dr. Laubach speak about illiteracy in faraway countries, but she didn’t consider it a problem in America. So she was shocked when she read a 1961 Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper article that stated there were over 11,000 people in her county who could not read or write well (based on 1960 U.S. Census figures). She began speaking with local social service agencies, community leaders, and church groups about the problem. With the help of reading experts, she developed a means to train volunteers to tutor adults. In 1962, she started Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc.

Mission

ProLiteracy Worldwide’s mission is to sponsor educational programs and services whose purpose is to empower adults and their families by assisting them to acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives and participate in the transformation of their societies.

Overview

ProLiteracy’s International Programs division works with grassroots partner programs in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. ProLiteracy provides training, technical assistance, and targeted local grants to support tailored programs that combine literacy with economic self-reliance, health, education, peace, human rights, and environmental sustainability projects.

ProLiteracy America, the U.S. Programs Division of ProLiteracy Worldwide, represents community-based volunteer and adult basic education affiliates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. ProLiteracy America accredits programs and supports them with technical assistance and program and professional development services online, in regional trainings, and at an annual conference. ProLiteracy also serves as an advocate for issues related to adult literacy and lifelong learning.New Readers Press, ProLiteracy’s publishing house, generates $8 million in revenue annually through the sale of materials used in teaching adults and older teens. Proceeds from these sales support ProLiteracy’s work throughout the U.S. and the world. News for You, a New Readers Press weekly newspaper written in plain English, is read by new learners in the U.S. and around the world.

Programs

The National Book Scholarship Fund (NBSF) gives grants of New Readers Press books and materials directly to local literacy service providers. The NBSF provides books for family literacy programs that work with parents and children, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) programs, adult basic education initiatives, and women-focused programming.

ProLiteracy Worldwide began its Women In Literacy (WIL) initiative in 1991 in response to the particular needs of women. Cultural traditions and local laws often favor men, allowing them access to education, property, employment, health care, and participation in government that is denied to women. ProLiteracy's Women in Literacy initiative gives women the literacy skills they need to understand and change their daily lives. Women hold key leadership positions in more than 80% of WIL partner programs.

Countries

In 2006, ProLiteracy Worldwide was active in the following countries:
Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zimbabwe
Asia

Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet/China, Uzbekistan
Middle East

Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, West Bank
Latin America

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela

Funding

About 60% of ProLiteracy Worldwide’s funding comes from sales of its educational materials. About 35% comes from private sources, including individuals, corporations, and foundations. The remainder comes from affiliate dues and investment income.

In 2005, 87% of funding went to programs, 7% went to fundraising, and 6% went to general and administrative services.

Accountability Standards

A 2005 report by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) found that ProLiteracy Worldwide met all of its standards for charity accountability. The WGA found that ProLiteracy Worldwide is truthful in its representations of how money is spent, does not allocate an excessive part of its budget for fundraising or administrative expenses, and makes its financial statements readily available to the public.

External links

Organizational Links

* [http://www.proliteracy.org ProLiteracy Worldwide]
* [http://www.newreaderspress.com New Readers Press]
* [http://www.nbsf.org National Book Scholarship Fund]

Reports by Charity-monitoring Organizations

* [http://www.give.org/seal.asp?ID=647312004 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report: ProLiteracy Worldwide]
* [http://www.guidestar.org GuideStar Basic Report: ProLiteracy Worldwide (registration required)]


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