RUTSIRO - As the world marked the International Adult Literacy Day on Wednesday, special emphasis was put on the role of literacy in empowering women.
At a colourful national event that attracted thousands in Rutsiro District, women were told that acquiring literacy skills gives them a sense of self-confidence, as well as control over their lives and future.
Parents in were reminded that there is no justification for denying girls access to education because it is a basic right and critical to attaining all the internationally agreed development goals.
“Investing in women’s literacy carries very high returns; it has a positive effect on development indicators. It improves livelihoods and guarantees better child and maternal health,” Education State Minister, Dr Mathias Harebamungu told residents.
He added that illiteracy keeps women marginalised and is the major obstacle in reducing extreme poverty in this generation where reading, writing and numeracy are fundamental.
In Rutsiro district, an estimated 9,829 people are pursuing adult training programmes and more than half of them are women.
A total of 298 youth who have just completed secondary school have been trained and equipped with all the necessary teaching materials in order to offer this service on a voluntary basis.
Statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), indicate that two out of every three of the world’s 759 million illiterate adult are women.
Testimonies from newly literate women bear witness to the fact that their new knowledge and skills have significantly impacted all aspects of their lives.
Beatrice Mukandoli, 48, is one of the women trainees and she reckons that this is an opportunity worthy of praise.
“In the past, husbands never thought about the importance of equipping women and girls with basic education skills. Now, there is massive change in terms of development because the ideology has also changed,” she observed.