Woman with laptop

Global Alliance for Literacy

30 countries strongly committed to improving youth and adult literacy.
hands on book

An estimated 763 million adults worldwide still lack basic literacy and numeracy skills – two-thirds of whom are women. Southern Asia is home to almost one-half of this global youth and adult population with no basic literacy and numeracy, while 27 per cent live in sub-Saharan Africa. The other 10 per cent are in East and South-East Asia, 9 per cent in Northern Africa and Western Asia, while about 4 per cent live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Concerted effort is needed in policy development and financial investment to safeguard literacy for all, especially those from greater disadvantage. To this end, the Global Alliance for Literacy within the Framework of Lifelong Learning (GAL) was launched in 2016 to advance global literacy efforts and address challenges to promoting literacy around the world. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) serves as GAL Secretariat.

elderly woman
The power of literacy

Sunflower Grandmothers in Uganda

sunflower grandmas of Uganda and teacher
30 countries

Today, GAL is made up of 30 countries strongly committed to improving youth and adult literacy. GAL engages a multiplicity of stakeholders to advocate for the importance of youth and adult literacy and to catalyse in an effective and coordinated manner efforts to improve literacy rates in the countries that need it the most.

GAL's objectives:

  • Improve GAL stakeholders’ (intersectoral) collaboration for literacy and numeracy development at international, regional, national and local levels;
  • Increase resources for the implementation of literacy efforts of the 30 GAL countries by strengthening political will, commitments and public awareness;
  • Strengthen GAL member countries’ capacity to formulate, implement and monitor education policies and programmes for the advancement of literacy and numeracy;
  • Enhance knowledge creation and sharing for GAL member countries’ evidence-based literacy policy designs and implementation.
hands in a huddle

The strategy sets out five areas of focus to advance literacy and numeracy in GAL member countries: (1) policy and planning; (2) equity and inclusion; (3) innovation; (4) data and monitoring; and (5) partnerships and cooperation.

These areas of focus target youth and adults from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to support the development of their literacy and numeracy skills, and thereby their potential for progress in their personal, community and work lives.

Learn more about the GAL Strategy 2020–2025.

LitBase - Open Access Database for Literacy Programmes

Welcome to LitBase, the Global Literacy and Numeracy Database. Here you will find case studies of youth and adult literacy programmes representing some of the best practice around the world.



UIL marks International Literacy Day 2022 with two new publications promoting tech-supported literacy learning

26 AUGUST 2022

UIL launches technology training for literacy educators in Egypt


US $17 billion funding is required to achieve universal literacy in the 29 countries of the GAL

7 JULY 2021

Quality data ‘essential for good literacy policies’


From radio to artificial intelligence: review of innovative technology in literacy and education for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons
Leveraging innovative technology in literacy and education programmes for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons
Counting the cost: achieving literacy in countries of the Global Alliance for Literacy