Posted by Mark Chipman, District 7070 Governor , 2020-21

Hello District 7070:

September is Basic Education and Literacy Month in Rotary with September 8 recognized as International Literacy Day.

Over 776 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate.  That’s 17 percent of the world’s adult population!!

One of the Rotary’s Areas of Focus

Basic education and literacy is one of Rotary’s areas of focus.  Basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community/economic development and promoting peace. The stats are alarming:

  • If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five

  • If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.........


Did you know that Rotary District 7070 has a Basic Education and Literacy Action Committee?   

The District 7070 Basic Education and Literacy Action Committee is chaired by Joan Barrett, Past President of Scarborough Rotary.  Over the past few months, Joan and her crew have been out speaking to clubs across the District about one of their many initiatives, the Free Reading Program (  This online literacy program serves children and improves literacy through the teaching of fundamental reading skills.  The program has over 290,000 students enrolled in over 185 countries.  This is also a powerful program for those homeschooling their kids during COVID.  If you would like to know more about what this committee is doing or have them speak to your club, please reach out to Joan at

Literacy Rotarian Action Group (LitRAG)

Another great source of information about literacy is the organization known as “LitRAG” ( which stands for “Literacy Rotarian Action Group”. LitRAG is a network of Rotarians throughout the world who aim to alleviate illiteracy, enhance literacy teaching and learning globally, and help to provide materials and equipment for literacy education.  To create awareness of the severity and impact of illiteracy, LitRAG has a contest underway where your Club could win $400 US.  Three awards of $400 each will be made to Clubs with the most creative or innovative project relating to literacy.  Applications must be received by September 30, 2020 and sent to: More information about the contest can be found on the LitRAG web site.

Share your Literacy Project

Many Clubs in District 7070, including the Rotary Clubs of Willowdale, Scarborough, Port Perry, Oshawa, Colborne and Belleville to name a few, have been significantly involved in the battle against illiteracy over the past few years.  If your Club has a literacy project underway, please share it to social media this month and tag the post with #rotary7070


Mark Chipman

District 7070 Governor, 2020-21