The Alphabet of Illiteracy represents a body of evidence suggesting that illiteracy is the root cause of almost every major problem humanity faces. Using the building blocks of reading and writing, each letter has been assigned an issue, and each issue has been sponsored by one of twenty-six partners. Through real-life case studies, they show why literacy should be at the heart of the solution, helping to reduce the spread of disease, lift people out of poverty, decrease gender inequality and ultimately give people a better chance to contribute to human society. Click on each letter to learn more about how illiteracy is linked to each issue represented.

A

...is for AIDS

Reading and writing makes people 5x more likely to know the basics about HIV. Source: UNESCO (2014)

B

...is for BLOODSHED

Reading and writing makes it ½ as likely people will commit robber or murder. Source: The Independent (2012) / ECSSR (2008)

C

...is for CHILD BRIDES

All women being able to read and write would mean 500,000 fewer child marriages in Africa alone. Source: UNESCO (2013)

D

...is for DRUG ABUSE

Reading and writing has been shown to lower the risk of drug abuse. Source: UNESCO (2004)

E

...is for EBOLA

People being able to read and write slows the spread of infectious diseases. Source: The Globalist (2014)

F

...is for FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Teaching mothers to read and write has been proven to stop their daughters suffering FGM. Source: UNICEF (2005)

G

...is for GENDER EQUALITY

Reading and writing would help 500m women achieve independence. UNESCO (2004)

H

...is for HOMELESS

Reading and writing makes people less likely to end up on the streets. Source: St Mungo’s Broadway London (2014)

I

...is for INFANT MORTALITY

If female literacy increased by 50% child deaths would drop by 30%. Source: UNESCO (2015)

J

...is for JAIL

70% of America's inmates struggle to read and write. Source: US Dept. of Education (2015)

K

...is for KALASHNIKOV

Reading and writing helps stop children becoming soldiers. Source UNESCO (2014)

L

...is for LIFE EXPECTANCY

Literacy has been proven to equip people to live healthier, longer lives. Source: World Literacy Foundation (2012)

M

...is for MALNUTRITION

Reading and writing makes it 24% less likely children will be underweight. Source: UNESCO Dakar (2012)

N

...is for NO CHILDHOOD

Children whose parents can read and write are less likely to be used as child labor. Source: World Bank / UN (2007)

O

...is for OVERDOSE

Illiterate people are 18x less likely to correctly identify their medicine. Source: US Census Bureau (2007)

P

...is for POVERTY

If everyone could read and write, 171m people would be lifted out of poverty. Source: UNESCO (2010)

Q

...is for QUITTING SCHOOL

Children who can read by the 4th grade are 4x more likely to stay in school. Source: UNESCO (2010)

R

...is for RADICALISATION

Reading and writing was the 2nd most important factor in resisting radicalization in parts of Africa. Source: US Institute of Peace (2014)

S

...is for STDS

Those who can read and write are less likely to catch an STD. Source: UNESCO (2014)

T

...is for TRILLION DOLLARS

the world would be $1.19tr richer if everyone could read and write. Source: World Literacy Foundation (2012)

U

...is for UNDERMINED

Literacy is a human right, but it's the human right that allows us to fully unlock all the others. Source: UNESCO (2006)

V

...is for VOICELESS

Reading and writing gives people a voice when they were previously unheard. Source: UN

W

...is for WORLD HUNGER

Reading and Writing would increase food production by 24% in parts of the world. Source: World Bank (2002)

X

...is for XXX

Children who can read and write are less likely to be sex-trafficked. Source: UN DFW (2005)

Y

...is for YOUNG OFFENDERS

85% of juvenile inmates in America are functionally illiterate.

Z

...is for ZERO OPTIONS

Reading and writing is proven to increase self-confidence, informed choices and job prospects. Source: UNESCO (2006)