The world is going through a period of profound change.
The inclusion and exclusion of different groups serves to maintain and aggravate injustice and instability and the degree to which people can influence change is directly linked to the quality of their education. Globally there are 776 million people over the age of 15 who are illiterate, including a staggering 40.3% of the population of Sub Saharan Africa. Disparities based on sex, ethnicity, caste and status persist, in parallel to a direct link between poverty and illiteracy. It has become increasingly evident that illiteracy exacerbates the spread of HIV and malaria, various forms of violence, poverty and gener inequality.
Current initiatives are insufficient to address the situation. Despite the growing demand for literacy and adult education, resources and activities remain concentrated on universal primary enrolment, leaving literacy and non formal education far behind. Resources allocated to literacy make up less than 1% of the education budget in most countries, and comprehensive adult education policies are rare. The enormity of the challenge requires policies that guarantee environments where individuals can develop and use literacy skills both for their own empowerment and enlightenment and to actively contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.
Thus, our member networks - ANCEFA, FEMNET, PAALAE and PAMOJA, made their appearance on the African scene. They have a common struggle for quality education for all. These four African networks have decided to collaborate from a joint platform in order that they might express their vision with a single voice. The African Platform for Adult Education was created in Dakar on the 29th March 2008 to represent this united vision. Its aims and objectives reflect its focus on preparing for and following up CONFINTEA VI (The International Conference on Adult Education) which took place in Belém Pará, Brazil from 1-4 December 2009.
The Platform has been involved with the preparation for the FISC conference (International Civil Society Forum), which took place from 27-30 November 2009. It brought together civil society to prepare and finalise their advocacy work before CONFINTEA VI and created a space for exchange between members of civil society from different countries.