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Abstract

Basic literacy is recognised as the means for equipping citizens of a country. In PNG, literacy for women empowers them socially, politically and economically. Literacy gives women the means to improve their economic status and subsequent standard of living, provides access to the power of written knowledge, provides skills and knowledge that has a direct relationship to the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the family, leads to enhanced quality of life for their families and improved education outcomes for their children, gives voice in decision making, self-development and self-value; thus reducing marginalisation. Oyitso, & Olomukoro (2012) have observed, “Access to literacy is considered one of the main factors for empowerment particularly empowerment of those excluded from [a] formal system of education” (p. 67). Literacy is identified as a catalyst of cultural and societal change.” In PNG, there are numerous agencies offering literacy courses, such as Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Pacific Adventist University (PAU). It is discovered that these adult literacy programs should be well-designed, organised and authentic, and structured around topics relevant to the students: social and gender issues, health and nutrition issues, marriage issues, family support systems, and practical communication methods, such as using the mobile phone, electronic banking and filling out official documents. Literacy programs are more than teaching the rudiments of reading, writing and mathematics, it is about empowering a person to become an effective and contributing member of society. Literacy is therefore, a basic instrument for empowerment. Oyitso, & Olomukoro, (2012, p. 73) assert “When women are literate, it is all society that gains.”

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