Educating rural people is essential for achieving the Millennium Goals
A new online education tool kit on agriculture, forestry and fisheries
26 April 2005, Rome - For the first time, a tool kit including a wide range of teaching and learning tools for the education of rural people is available on the Internet. It will provide governments, NGOs, international organizations, rural school teachers, extension agents and the public at large with the latest knowledge on how to help rural communities ameliorate their livelihoods.
The Education for Rural People Tool Kit Web page was launched today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The tool kit is a valuable resource for all those whose daily work consists in training the rural poor in the fields of food and nutrition, local knowledge systems, agrobiodiversity, food quality and safety, rural finance, marketing, forestry, fisheries, communication and other related issues.
"The tool kit will help policy-makers to implement education programmes and improve the quality level of education in rural areas," said Lavinia Gasperini, an FAO expert who works in close collaboration with UNESCO and several other organizations on the Education for Rural People initiative, launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
Illiteracy and hunger
"You cannot promote agriculture if you fail to educate rural people," stressed Ms Gasperini. "The first Millennium Development Goal - reducing hunger and poverty - will not be achieved unless we give a higher priority to improving education in rural areas, where the majority of the people live."
Hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity reduce school attendance and erode cognitive abilities. Conversely, illiteracy and lack of education reduce earning capacity and contribute to hunger and poverty.
Education plays a fundamental role in improving the food security, incomes and productivity of rural people. It also helps to promote new technologies, as literate people are more inclined to adopt these technologies and to protect their environment.
According to latest estimates, "in the so-called global village, about 130 million children, the majority of whom are rural, do not have a pencil or a pen, nor a book, nor a teacher, and do not go to school," Ms Gasperini said. These children will become illiterate adults who will join the 880 million illiterates in the world, the majority of whom are rural adults.
Media Relations Officer, FAO
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