Statement By U.S. Agency For International Development Administrator Mark Green On International Literacy Day 2019

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

For Immediate Release

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

On International Literacy Day, September 8, we recognize literacy as the foundation of well-educated, productive societies and essential for making progress on the Journey to Self-Reliance. I began my career as a teacher in rural Kenya, where I saw first-hand the powerful impact a high-quality education has on the lives and futures of children and adolescents. The ability to read and write opens doors and provides opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

Yet today, more than 600 million children and youth worldwide cannot read or write. That is why the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) prioritizes foundational skills, like literacy, throughout our education investments. The USAID Education Policy and the U.S. Government Strategy for International Basic Education affirm that when children have the skills they need to succeed and grow, they have the potential to flourish and innovate to transform their lives, their families' lives, and their communities. As our National Security Strategy notes, literate, well-educated societies are more peaceful, stable and prosperous partners - and stronger partners are good for America's economy and security.

We also know that the more than 75 million children living in areas affected by crisis or conflict need even greater support, which is why our Education Policy emphasizes innovation and creative partnerships with the private sector, faith-based community and non-traditional actors to help deliver quality education to more children, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized.

Since 2011, USAID's investments in education have helped more than four million children around the world improve their reading skills. While that's a record we are proud of, we're committed to doing even more to help ensure a safer, more hopeful future for us all.

Please click here for more information about the Agency's approach and programs to improve literacy. Please click here to read USAID's Education Policy, and here for the U.S. Government Strategy for International Basic Education.