Combating illiteracy has been a major focus of Rotary International since 1986 - and for good reason. UNESCO estimates there are over 800 million illiterate adults in the world and about two-thirds of them are women. Millions more are functionally illiterate, without the reading and writing skills necessary for everyday life.

We can make a difference by:
1. Starting projects in our own communities
2. Being involved in International Projects
3. Raising Awareness in our club and beyond 

1. IN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES . . . Develop your own programs. Talk to the literacy professionals, welfare organisations and others in your communities who see the effects on people of low literacy skills and will have ideas about what you can do.

Literacy starts at home. Even in this ‘lucky country’ of ours, there are children who don't own one book, let alone have access to the rich home reading environment that your children experienced. A poor start to this process of becoming literate disadvantages those children throughout their schooling.

Changing this requires a multi-focus effort from government, the education and welfare system and those who care within local communities. But, every time a child is touched by a piece of wonderful literature, the situation improves just a little. Can your club help needy local families bring books into their homes

2. INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS . . . The ability to read, write, and do simple maths is critical for the well-being of individuals in any society. International Literacy and numeracy projects allow us to make a real contribution to building nations and reducing poverty.

Work with another organisation by sponsoring an international project. 

3. RAISING AWARENESS OF LITERACY ISSUESLet’s celebrate literacy and the efforts of Rotary clubs everywhere. Special emphasis should be a feature of every clubs program during Rotary Literacy month in March. We also ask clubs to celebrate International Literacy Day on September 8th each year.

Other websites of interest:Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE): This Rotary initiative is helping many people in a vast number of countries including Thailand, Turkey, South Africa, Bangladesh and The Philippines. The CLE projects grew out of an initiative of Past RI President Glen Kinross and a number of Australian Rotarians. Further development now sees this program being a world leader.

International Reading Association (IRA): Rotary International works with the IRA and encourages Rotarians and members of the IRA to share resources and information and develop cooperative literacy projects.