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Global Literacy and Education
Illiteracy is a global challenge. According to UNESCO, more than 771 million adults around the world cannot read. Eighty-five percent of them live in just 35 countries, concentrated in regions of poverty. More than two-thirds of these illiterate adults are women. As Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade, Mrs. Bush works to promote literacy worldwide.
The White House Conference on Global Literacy
The conference examined three vital functions of literacy: Literacy for Health, Literacy for Economic Self-Sufficiency, and Mother-Child Literacy. Literacy for Health ensures that adults can make informed, wise decisions to protect the health of their families. Literacy for Economic Self-Sufficiency ensures that adults, especially women, can learn basic business skills that generate income, foster independence, and boost local economies. By investing in literacy and education, governments build their economies. Mother-Child Literacy and Intergenerational Learning ensure that as mothers -- our first teachers -- learn to read, they can impart those skills to their children, beginning a chain of literacy that continues from one generation to the next. By investing in literacy instruction for women and girls now, governments ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits of reading.
Speakers at the Conference highlighted a variety of successful literacy programs and encouraged sustained global and country-level leadership to promote literacy. Building on the work of the White House Conference on Global Literacy, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is hosting a series of regional conferences to address literacy challenges specific to various regions.
President Bush's African Education Initiative
The Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
The Presidents Malaria Initiative
The Presidents Malaria Initiative (PMI) is saving lives. President Bush announced the Initiative in June 2005. A five-year, $1.2 billion program, PMI challenges the private sector to join the U.S. government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit African countries. PMI's goal is to cut malarias mortality rate by 50 percent in these target countries, freeing these African nations and their citizens from the grip of debilitating disease. Through partnerships working in the first three target countries Angola, Tanzania and Uganda aid from the American people has already reached about six million Africans. In 2007, 30 million more will receive life-saving medicines, sprays, and nets as the program expands. One American with just $10 for a mosquito net can help save a life in Africa. A school, a church, or a team can help save a village. Together, Americans can help protect an entire continent.
Public-Private Partnership for Clean Water in Africa
Mrs. Bush is actively involved in promoting the importance of education and literacy for all, especially women and girls. Mrs. Bush knows that education is powerful in the fight against poverty and injustice. Well-educated children can help create a world of understanding and tolerance and are equipped for a hopeful future. Education reshapes communities, fosters democracy, and strengthens economies. Strong schools that emphasize basic skills and broad knowledge enable nations to prosper and the ideals of liberty to flourish.
Mrs. Bush works to raise awareness of the importance of educating girls because she believes that educated girls are better able to handle any of lifes challenges, including violence and disease. The United States sponsors the Ambassadors Girls' Scholarship Program, which will provide 550,000 scholarships to girls at the primary and secondary level. So far, 120,000 scholarships have been provided in 40 countries.
The Middle East and Afghanistan