Family Literacy Provides an Effective Response to the U.N. SDGs and Peacebuilding Architecture


Family Literacy Provides an Effective Response to the U.N. SDGs and Peacebuilding Architecture

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This paper is grounded in: 1) forty years of successful family literacy initiatives undertaken by U.N. Member States, NGOs, and academia; 2) a meta-analysis of these initiatives that has identified connections between the U.N. Peacebuilding Architecture and the global impact of family literacy on peacebuilding and the SDGs. The concept of “family literacy” originates in my 1970s research and is supported by four decades of peer-reviewed family literacy research. The concept is grounded in the recognition that the family is the originating and only organizing principle that all people share, and that all other divisions are secondary.

Today, there are locally defined family literacy projects throughout the world, providing real opportunities for countries to support a global family literacy peace project that could push down the risks confronting humanity.

Based upon forty years of field research and a meta-analysis of family literacy initiatives in U.N. Member States, there are three interlinked evidence-based distinguishing objectives of practice that make Family Literacy an effective response to the SDGs/2030 Agenda:

First: Family literacy programs provide access to literacy and academic opportunities for adults and children in vulnerable communities in most U.N. Member States, including economically advanced countries such as the US where there is extreme inequality.

Second: Family literacy programs provide a conduit to respond to the challenges identified by families, and empower them to overcome the problems negatively impacting their lives, including the trauma of war, the impact of HIV and AIDS, and the plight of refugees and displaced families.

Third: Family literacy programs incorporate, in varying configurations, the U.N. SDGs based upon local circumstances and needs, including ending poverty, gender equality, life below the water, life on land, climate change, with peace and justice the overarching principle.

A meta-analysis of family literacy in U.N. Member States based on both qualitative and quantitative research provide significant evidence of how vital family literacy has become to increasing cohesion and reducing fragmentation within and between communities. The unifying factor is that, family literacy projects and initiatives recognize “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” as stated in the preamble of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, there is little recognition of the positive impacts of family literacy as a viable, unifying approach to addressing local, regional, and global violence experienced every year by one billion children worldwide.

 Thus, it makes eminent sense to locate sustaining peace efforts in family settings, working alongside children’s caregivers to ameliorate the often-violent circumstances in which they live their everyday lives. Added to the merits of this proposition is the possibility that family literacy is one way that the U.N. can stay ahead of potential conflicts, fulfill some of the constitutive necessities for conflict prevention, and participate with people in local communities in sustaining peace initiatives.

Report Download (.PDF)

Download the “Family Literacy Provides an Effective Response to the U.N. SDGs and Peacebuilding Architecture” Report (PDF), Denny Taylor (April 2019). Visit Denny Taylor’s Research Retrospective HUB.