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6 key speakers.jpg Celebrations of the International Literacy Day in Mariental, Hardap region, Namibia

On 8 September 2013, as for more than 40 years now, UNESCO celebrated literacy as the foundation of all learning on International Literacy Day around the globe. “Literacy for enlarging livelihood opportunities” served as Namibia’s national theme and of course also in Namibia this day could not possibly go unnoticed. The latter especially since the country had more than one thing to celebrate for and be proud of.

This day was however not only the endpoint of a weeklong celebration of adult learning and an overall focus on the vital and paramount importance of literacy as a human right -a commitment that both Namibia and UNESCO share- this year it was also, and this is especially exciting, the celebration of a well-deserved prize for the country. The “National Literacy Programme” of the Directorate of Adult Education has in fact been granted the Confucius prize, one of the two annual UNESCO Literacy prizes awarded by an international jury. The ascription of this prize recognizes the strong commitment of the Government of Namibia and congratulates it for its literacy programmes that have significantly increased the Namibian literacy rate by almost 24% over less than 10 years. This meaningful achievement deserved to be acknowledged.

The city of Mariental in the Hardap region was to host the annual national celebrations this year and did so with pride and shine. Speeches of the Mayor, the UNESCO education programmme specialist, the Governor, the Minister of Education and the regional Education Director were interspersed with performances of cultural groups and of the adult learners themselves. Especially through the latter Mariental succeeded in visualizing some of the many success stories of the literacy programmes, and in particular of the learning opportunities for illiterate and disadvantaged adults. In this regard, the governor of the Hardap region referred to literacy as being the “greatest equalizer” because she believes it to be the foundation of all learning and education. Last is by all means a viewpoint that she shares with UNESCO.
The celebrations were ended by the traditional cutting of the anniversary cake by the Governor and the Minister of Education, on the notes of the National Anthem.

Six key speakers participated in the event (from left to right, top to bottom):Mr. Gp Dax, Director of Ceremonies; his Worship, the Mayor of Mariental, Mr. A Kamburute; UNESCO Education Programme Specialist, Ms. C. Barbieri; Hon. Dr. D. Namwandi, Minister of Education; Hon. KM. Hanse- Himarwa, Governor of Hardap Region and Mr. M. Gqwede.
Four cultural groups performed during the event. Below, a moment of one of the two performances from Ratanang Cultural Group.

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Publication Date 13 Sep 2013
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