Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign
The Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign, also called the Sandinista Literacy Campaign, was a campaign launched in 1980 by the Sandinista government in order to reduce illiteracy in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. It was awarded the prestigious UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 Literacy Award
UNESCO Nadezhda K. Krupskaya literacy prize
UNESCO Nadezhda K. Krupskaya literacy prize was named after Russian politician of the Soviet era Nadezhda K. Krupskaya. The prize was sponsored by the government of the SSSR in the period 1970-1992.- List of Winners and Honourable Mentions :-See also:...

. There have been many other literacy campaigns in the country since the first one was launched in 1980.

History, planning and goals

Prior to the Sandinista Revolution in 1979 the majority of the rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 population of Nicaragua was illiterate, with estimates as high as 75%-90%. The total population had an estimated illiteracy rate of 50%. Planning for the literacy campaign began approximately four months after the Sandinista Revolution which overthrew the Somoza
The Somoza family was an influential political dynasty who ruled Nicaragua as an hereditary dictatorship. Their influence exceeded their combined 43 years in the de facto presidency, as they were the power behind the other presidents of the time through their control of the National Guard...

 political dynasty. Nearly 60,000 youths (high school and college age) and 30,000 adults of varying backgrounds were trained in two weeks for the five-month campaign. Citizen groups, workers' associations, youth organizations, and public institutions provided organizational support for the campaign. The goals of the literacy campaign were of a social-political, strategic and educational nature:

The Literacy Campaign

The first Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign was launched by the Sandinista government and took place between March 3 and August 23, 1980. It was just one of the key large scale programs that the Sandinista government implemented during their presidency.

Volunteers came from all over the country to participate in the project. There were two types of volunteers in the project, those who could not leave for the countryside such as: housewives, government employees and workers; thus, they worked in urban neighborhoods as Citizens’ Literacy Promoters (AP). The second and most important groups of volunteers under the Popular Literacy Army (EPA) were the youth that worked full-time in the rural and mountainous areas. The groups of influential youth who mostly came from secondary schools or universities, were named after the brigadistas that contributed to the Cuban Literacy Campaign
Cuban Literacy Campaign
The Cuban Literacy Campaign was a year-long effort to abolish illiteracy in Cuba after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution...

. Like their Cuban mentors, the brigadistas did not only teach the rural peasants to read and write; but they were also integrated into the families, bridging the gap between the rural and urban citizens of the nation. Because the young volunteers were as young as 12 years of age, many parents speculated on the idea of allowing them to participate.

Massive campaigns through the media and youth groups were organized in order to convince them. Other campaigns had to also be arranged to convince teachers to participate, because a lot of them despised the idea of working closely with their students. Altogether, approximately 95,140.87 Nicaraguans actually volunteered in the campaign.

The campaign used a number of tactics to increase the participation and creativity of the illiterates during their learning process which included experiential learning, dialogue, group discussions and collective problem solving. However, these tactics were not as successful as perceived because the training process of the volunteers was very brief and started a month before the actual campaign. The first stage of the training process consisted of a two week intensive workshop and those trained first would train the next group of volunteers. After the 3rd group was trained, schools and universities were closed down in order to train the remaining.

Literacy Congresses were held in order to evaluate the outcome of the literacy campaign. The evaluation illustrated impressive results considering the fact that a rocky road was taken to get to where they were. Altogether, about one-fifth of the population participated directly in the campaign and almost everyone was affected in at least an indirect way. Overall, illiteracy had reduced by about 37.39% with about 7% illiterates in the industrialized Pacific and 25.95% in the less developed regions. Even though illiteracy was still higher in the rural areas, they were more affected by the campaign with a major decrease of about 52.5%. The interaction between the rural and urban regions in Nicaragua was one of the most important results. Such interactions led to the integration of the once quite independent two regions, with a binding sense of nationalism throughout the country. The fact that every class, race, gender and age was involved, brought about a new perspective towards the distribution of power and wealth. Women also played a major role in the literacy campaign. Like the Cuban example, about 60% of the brigadistas were female and such a title made the women feel a sense of belonging and equalization in the revolutionary process of their country. Lastly, due to the great success of the campaign, Nicaragua made a substantial contribution in finding solutions for the eradication of illiteracy worldwide. In September 1980, UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 awarded Nicaragua with the “Nadezhda K. Krupskaya” award for its successful literacy campaign. This was followed by the literacy campaigns of 1982, 1986, 1987, 1995 and 2000, all of which were also awarded by UNESCO.

Other literacy campaigns

From October to March 1981 additional campaigns were held in Nicaragua's Caribbean coast to reduce illiteracy to over 12,000 people in their native languages of in local Miskito
Miskito language
Miskito is a Misumalpan language spoken by the Miskito people in northeastern Nicaragua, especially in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, and in eastern Honduras....

, Sumo
Sumo language
Sumo is the collective name for a group of Misumalpan languages spoken in Nicaragua and Honduras. Hale & Salamanca classifies the Sumu languages into a northern Mayangna, composed of the Twahka and Panamahka dialects, and southern Ulwa...

 and various Creole languages such as Nicaraguan Creole
Miskito Coastal Creole
Mískito Coast Creole or Nicaragua Creole English is a language spoken in Nicaragua based on English. Its approximately 30,000 speakers are found along the Mosquito Coast of the Caribbean Sea. The language is nearly identical to Belizean Creole , and similar to all Central American Creoles...

. This was followed by many other literacy campaigns throughout the nation.

Literacy campaigns of 2005-2009

The first phase of the literacy campaign was carried out with support of Sandinista mayors’ offices and used audiovisual equipment and teaching materials donated by Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 as well as consulting assistance. During that period, around 70,000 people learned to read and write.

In 2007, after Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega
José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

 began his second term as President of Nicaragua
President of Nicaragua
The position of President of Nicaragua was created in the Constitution of 1854. From 1825 until the Constitution of 1838 the title of the position was known as Head of State and from 1838 to 1854 as Supreme Director .-Heads of State of Nicaragua within the Federal Republic of Central America...

, under the Carlos Fonseca Amador Popular Education Association, a new literacy campaign was announced and later launched in March 2007. The new literacy campaign was based on the "Yo Sí Puedo" (Yes, I can) Cuban method. Estimates say over 350,000-500,000 Nicaraguans would be taught to read and write. The literacy campaign was coordinated by Orlando Pineda and received finance and support from Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

. The goal of the literacy campaigns is to declare Nicaragua free of illiteracy by 2009.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.