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The Alphabet of Illiteracy

WEBER SHANDWICK, London / PEARSON / 2016

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

757 million people cannot read this sentence.

One in four American, and one in five British, children leave primary school unable to read or write.

Illiteracy fuels issues including poverty, radicalisation, FGM, infant mortality and gender inequality.

It costs the world $1.19 trillion a year.

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, convened Project Literacy with other partners, including UNESCO, Action on Addiction, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Microsoft, to change this.

To kick-start a global movement, our objective was to clearly and effectively tell the story of illiteracy’s contribution to the world’s biggest problems, building awareness and support, mobilising national governments and Project Literacy’s partners to take urgent action.

Project Literacy also planned to petition the UN to put literacy at the heart of every action to advance the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, since it impacts all of them.

Execution

We worked with Lily on a speech that would tell Project Literacy’s complex story in a compelling, accessible way.

We had one simple message: Illiteracy is the root cause of the world’s greatest challenges. And that if we teach everyone to read and write, we can rewrite lives.

On 23/2/16, Lily Cole delivered an impassioned speech to politicians, US ambassadorial staff, influencers and media at the Houses of Parliament in London. Big Issue founder Lord Bird told his uplifting story of growing up illiterate, taught to read in jail aged 16 by a guard.

Lily launched a petition, to be presented to the UN on World Literacy Day, 8 September, urging it to put literacy at the heart of every action to advance the Global Goals.

The event and Alphabet of Illiteracy video were supported by a paid social media campaign.

Next, we’re taking the story to the U.S.

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