NEWTON, MA | September 30, 2007
In remarks at last week’s Global Health and Literacy luncheon, First Lady Laura Bush praised the work being done by the EDC-run Women’s Teacher Training Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan. “At the Institute, women from the provinces have a safe dorm to stay in while they’re trained to be teachers. So far, the Institute has trained nearly 400 women to be community literacy instructors. These teachers then return home and train more teachers in a cascading effect. The goal is to open and staff as many schools in Afghanistan as fast as possible.”
The Women’s Teacher Training Institute is part of EDC’s Literacy and Community Empowerment Program (LCEP), which is run in conjunction with UN-Habitat and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. In its first phase, LCEP worked in nearly 200 rural Afghani communities to develop village-level governance, encourage savings and credit activity, support micro-enterprise, and build literacy and numeracy skills among women and youth. The program developed 48 literacy modules and reached 9,500 learners across five provinces. It initiated 715 self-help savings groups, 336 of which are women’s groups; and formed 24 community banks lending within their own communities, with another 50 preparing to follow suit. Arrangements are underway for a new follow-on initiative to expand LCEP’s literacy activities.
Mrs. Bush first visited the Institute in 2005, and last year, members of the LCEP team were invited to the White House’s Conference On Global Literacy, where President George W. Bush stated “One of the most…heartwarming literacy initiatives that I have witnessed as President was the Women’s Teacher Training Institute in Kabul.”
The Global Health and Literacy luncheon was held at the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum in New York and addressed challenges to education and health, in particular those faced by women in developing nations.