"Just published: Why Languages Matter"

Donald Z. Osborn dzo at bisharat.net
Sun Aug 31 07:18:32 UTC 2008

FYI, from the UNESCO site at  

Just published: Why Languages Matter

29-08-2008 - Published in this 2008 International Year of Languages,  
?Why Languages Matter? provides readers with real life stories about  
how literacy programs in local languages are helping to achieve the  
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In Indonesia for example, a program in mother-tongue prompted  
villagers to replant mangroves to stem the destruction of coastal  
areas. In Togo, a farmer began a chicken breeding business after  
learning about how to manage finances and resources in an Ifè adult  
literacy class. In indigenous communities of Mexico, bilingual  
teachers are noting that students who begin primary school in their  
mother tongue acquire literacy skills more quickly. In Benin?s Waama  
community, literacy classes in mother tongue are giving people access  
to basic health information and leading to improved overall health.

The brochure also highlights how partnerships can revitalize local  
languages. In Viet Nam for example, speakers of several  
closely-related languages now have a font that is usable on computers  
and the Internet, an initiative supported by UNESCO.

The MDGs were officially adopted by 189 United Nations member states  
in 2000. These goals seek to eradicate extreme poverty, universalize  
primary education, promote gender equality, improve health and ensure  
environmental sustainability by 2015.

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