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S. African, Ethiopian groups awarded UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
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The UN cultural agency UNESCO on Monday awarded NGOs from South Africa and Ethiopia the Confucius Prize for Literacy for their outstanding efforts to eliminate illiteracy and promote public health awareness in their countries.

South Africa's Operation Upgrade was honored for its innovative approach to integrating knowledge about HIV and AIDS into literacy programs, and Adult and Non-Formal Education Association of Ethiopia was awarded for its community-based approach to teaching business, conflict resolution and disease prevention and for its writing workshops for the newly literate, according to a statement by UNESCO.

"Literacy is a powerful yet too often overlooked remedy to health threats, with the potential to promote better nutrition, disease prevention and treatment," said Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura at the awarding ceremony on the International Literacy Day.

Shi Shuyun, Chinese ambassador to the Paris-based UNESCO, said the Confucius Prize for Literacy, established three years ago, demonstrates China's support for education across the world.

China hopes to arouse world's attention to education and highlight the key role of education in personal life and in society through the prize named after Confucius, known for his idea that anyone should receive education regardless of his social differences, Shi said.

Apart from the Confucius Prize for Literacy, the UNESCO literacy prizes also include International Reading Association Literacy Prize, which went to Brazil's Curitiba City Council, and King Sejong Literacy Prize, which was attributed to Zambia's People's Action Forum.

About 774 million adults are still illiterate, accounting for one fifths of the world's total population. Campaign against illiteracy still remains a grave task with 75 million children still receiving inadequate education, according to UNESCO.

(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2008)

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