Colombian CSR programme wins UNESCO Literacy Prize

Colombian CSR programme wins UNESCO Literacy Prize

Camacol Antioquia in Colombia is awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for its literacy programme ‘Obras Escuela’.

The Antioquia regional branch of the non-profit consortium Camacol, which is composed of more than 400 active companies in the construction sector, launched ‘Obras Escuela’ in 2007, with the aim to promote literacy for workers in this sector.

This workplace-based learning programme is flexible to meet worker’s needs and has improved basic literacy and arithmetic skills of construction workers who had limited or no schooling.

“Construction workers faced daily difficulties due to a lack of literacy,” says María Lucía Vélez, the Director of corporate social responsibility at Camacol Antioquia. She explains that those difficulties are associated with the insufficient ablility to read the bus route correctly or access the subway, to filling out official paperwork and reading safety signs.

Teachers who have professional education degrees provide literacy courses at the beginning and at the end of the day. They cover a wide range of subjects whose content is aligned with the basic learning models proposed by the Ministry of National Education.

The programme has adopted Spanish, the native language of the participants, but also teaches English through different subjects. The courses are also focused on other aspects of the learners’ lives such as human rights and filling out applications for State subsidies or making medical appointments.