The relative isolation of the individual from major changes in his own country and the world restricts automatic exposure to new experiences. There are few sources of outside news, nor do new visitors pass through often. Although there is an increasing number of people in formal or trade education, educational systems are mainly limited to formal primary curriculum, apprenticeships, and some educational broadcasts on the radio. A large number of adults are illiterate, having been forced to leave school by their families in order to work; often the formal education they have received is inappropriate. Adults and children alike find the time between starting school and leaving to get a job too long if home responsibilities must also be fulfilled.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.