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Mobilink and I-SAPS Empowering women

Pakistan is currently the eighth largest mobile telecommunications market in the world, with more than 120 million subscribers.

Adult literacy rate in Pakistan is stagnant at 57%, almost half of the adult population in Pakistan is unable to read or write. Among the provinces, KPK stands second last on the adult literacy rate and has also witnessed 1% decline in adult literacy in 2015.

KPK is the province fighting ignorance and terrorism.

In this context, one could hardly overemphasize the significance of adult literacy initiatives and strategies, especially for women in KPK. What Women access to education is limited as social and cultural attitudes influence them, conservative beliefs and non-availability of female teachers in current society.

What if we combine mobile technology and education together?

In recent years, Mobile Learning (M-Learning) has become an active medium to improve access to education and facilitate the alternative learning processes. M-Learning has also proved useful in circumventing structural barriers such as cost, infrastructure, etc.

Realizing this potential of M-Learning, Mobilink Foundation and I-SAPS in collaboration with GuarantCo designed and implemented a mobile phone-based learning initiative, which aimed at addressing the challenge of adult female literacy in the rural areas of eight district in KPK.

Active members of the communities, several elders were engaged and was made the part of the whole process.

The SMS-based Adult Female Literacy Programme has enabled over 4000 adult females to read and write, perform everyday calculations and gain life skills. This is being done with four specifically designed textbooks and freely given mobile phones in the eight districts of Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Buner, Malakand, Haripur, Mansehra and Kohat.

4050 Adult females are now literate, 160 teachers are trained in ICT-based literacy skills.

In the seminar conducted at Serina Hotel Islamabad, it was emphasized that how to further strengthen the efforts to respond to the challenge of illiteracy using ICT across Pakistan. The success stories of women benefited from this program are introduced and highlighted.

There are more than 7,000 multi-grade (from class 1 to 5), single room schools with just a single teacher in Balochistan. These schools have no boundary walls and no such thing as individual attention or security. We can use this platform of M-Learning to approach to the far flung areas. By literacy, they will erase the menace of terrorism and injustice by themselves.

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