Actionaid has developed the "Reflect" programme, a novel approach to literary education. "Reflect" works with learning materials that "reflect" the real life situation of the students; in the pilot projects these are mostly rural situations connected with harvest, land ownership, marketing, but also with health, family planning and so forth. The participants themselves are involved in the development of the programme and acquire skills in reading, writing and numeracy that they are able to use immediately in practical situations. Three plot projects in Bangladesh, Uganda and El Salvador achieved a basic literacy of 60-68% within one year for the enrolled students. Most participants spoke of having achieved better self-esteem, better problem-solving ability and improved relations within the community. This led, in some cases, to positions in community organizations and thus promoted democratic processes. Discussion within the learning groups often led to community level action (health promotion, cooperatives, etc). "Reflect" initiatives are now (1997) planned for 18 countries.
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.
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