What is your Rotary Club doing to support this important Rotary Foundation Area of Focus?

Basic education and literacy is one of The Rotary Foundation’s seven areas of focus. We know that basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace. ......

More than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. That’s 17 percent of the world’s adult population. 

Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy. We support education for all children and literacy for children and adults.

HOW ROTARY MAKES HELP HAPPEN: We take action to empower educators to inspire learning at all ages. 

OUR IMPACT ON EDUCATION: The Rotary Foundation supports education through scholarships, donations, and service projects around the world.

Rotary members make amazing things happen, like:

Opening schools: In Afghanistan, Rotary members opened a girls’ school to break the cycle of poverty and social imbalance.

Teaching adults to read: Rotary members in the United States partnered with ProLiteracy Detroit to recruit and train tutors after a study showed that more than half of the local adult population was functionally illiterate.

New teaching methods: The SOUNS program in South Africa, Puerto Rico and the United States teaches educators how to improve literacy by teaching children to recognize letters by sounds instead of names.

Making schools healthy: Rotarians are providing clean, fresh water to every public school in Lebanon so students can be healthier and get a better education.

" When you teach somebody how to read, they have that for a lifetime. It ripples through the community, one by one." - 
Rotary Club member


Consider these facts:

  • If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths.

  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.

  • If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.

Rotary clubs all over the world are taking action to enhance basic education and literacy in their communities. Every community has different needs and different opportunities to serve.

The world is making good progress in this area. According to a 2014 United Nations Millennium Development Goals progress report, literacy rates among adults and youths are on the rise and the gender gap in literacy is narrowing. But pressing global needs remain:

  • 58 million children worldwide are out of school.

  • Even after four years of primary schooling, as many as 250 million children cannot read and write.

  • 781 million adults are illiterate.

Rotary supports activities and training to improve education for all children and literacy for children and adults.


Area of Focus Statement of Purpose and Goals:

The Rotary Foundation enables Rotarians to ensure that all people have sustainable access to basic education and literacy by:

  • Involving the community to support programs that strengthen the capacity of communities to provide basic education and literacy to all;

  • Increasing adult literacy in communities;

  • Working to reduce gender disparity in education;

  • Supporting studies for career-minded professionals related to basic education and literacy.


Parameters for Eligibility:

The Rotary Foundation considers activities targeting the following to be within the scope of the basic education and literacy area of focus:

  • Access to quality basic primary and secondary education;

  • Educating adults in literacy;

  • Providing training in teaching literacy, curriculum development, and school administration;

  • Strengthening educational experience through improved materials and facilities;

  • Community management of education systems;

  • Vocational training teams supporting the above activities;

  • School desk purchases, when accompanied by a detailed and verifiable plan to improve basic education and literacy;

  • Scholarships for graduate-level study in programs related to basic education and literacy.


The Rotary Foundation considers activities targeting the following to be outside the scope of the basic education and literacy area of focus and as such are not eligible for global grant funding:

Click here for more information. 

If you wish to find or create a literacy project or make a donation to an existing literacy project, please contact our District 7070 Literacy Chair, Joan Barrett at j-d-barrett@rogers.com


INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT BELRAG : The Basic Education and Literacy Rotary Action Group?  Click Here

Check out the BELRAG Newsletters right here.

September is Rotary Literacy Month!

Enter your club’s best project for a BELRAG Literacy Award for 2022 - Check out the links below for everything you need to know!

Literacy Contest 2022

Literacy Award Suggestion for Clubs 

Litrag Award Rubric 


Be sure to see  the January 2021 ~ Basic Education and Literacy Global Grants: Keys to Successful Projects. Click HERE