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UNESCO supports the Rotary Race to Literacy

Published:Sunday | April 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (left) looks at one of his books with (from right) Byron Buckley, president of Press Association of Jamaica and special events editor at The Gleaner; Rotary Club of Kingston immediate Past President Christopher Issa; District Governor Errol Alberga Jr; Rotarian Deika Morrison; and president Noel Osbourne, after handing over books from his personal collection to the Rotary Race to Literacy project at King's House in St Andrew last month. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

THE JAMAICA National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (JNC-UNESCO) has endorsed the Rotary Race to Literacy book drive, pledging not only the support of Jamaica but also promising to extend the support of the 193-member countries of UNESCO through its national commission.

"Education is the major focus of UNESCO and in particular 'Education for All'," said Everton Hannam, secretary general of Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO. "Literacy is fundamental to the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the promotion, therefore, of reading, particularly at the early childhood level, is an initiative which we all must endorse and support." The Jamaica National Commission especially expressed support for the donations that the book drive will make to Haiti, a "timely gesture as we collectively rebuild their education system".

This partnership comes at an ideal time as April 23 will be celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day by UNESCO worldwide. Discussions are also in place to use the opportunity to nominate this day as collection day islandwide.

This recent partnership is just another development in the Rotary Race to Literacy project. As the deadline for the book drive draws near and the donations continue to pour in at the project's partner drop-off points, the total number of books that need to be donated for the project to break the current Guinness World Record (242, 624) comes within reach.

"We are delighted to have the endorsement of the JNC-UNESCO; now this project is truly inter-national," said Deika Morrison, Race to Literacy book drive project chair, "but we still need the support of Jamaicans, we need them to come out in their masses."

Morrison added: "Usain Bolt recently endorsed the project, which is amazing, so we are really hoping that everyone will follow in Bolt's footsteps; donate a book and let's get it done together!"