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ALFALIT Fast Facts

Eliminating the suffering caused by illiteracy

Alfalit provides literacy, basic education, early childhood educationl, health, nutrition, and community development programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Portugal, and the United States.

  • Nearly 8 million people have learned to read and write through Alfalit.
  • Alfalit was established in Costa Rica in 1961, and moved its headquarters to Miami in 1975.
  • Alfalit currently serves 24 countries in four continents, with programs in Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and Creole.
  • Alfalit’s enrolls nearly 120,000 students every year, including 11,000 preschool children in ten countries.
  • The majority of Alfalit’s 13,000 teachers are volunteers, making this program cost-effective.
  • Alfalit teaches students how to read, write and do basic math for approximately $117 per student (worldwide average). The Alfalit program takes an illiterate student through a third grade level of education within 9-12 months, depending on the student.
  • For an additional investment of $234 (worldwide average), youth and adults can learn how to read and write to a sixth-grade level.
  • Approximately 93 cents of every donated dollar goes to program services.
  • In 1983, UNESCO presented Alfalit’s program in Peru with its First Prize in Adult Literacy. In 1992, it gave special recognition to Alfalit’s programs in Guatemala. In September 2006, USAID and UNESCO chose Alfalit’s program in Bolivia as one of 9 model programs worldwide, and former First Lady Laura Bush invited Alfalit to the First White House Conference on Global Literacy for its effectiveness in literacy, basic education and incorporating health and nutrition in its literacy program.
  • Alfalit Liberia was honored to present its program to Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush during the President and Mrs. Bush’s visit to Liberia in February 2008.
  • Alfalit has continued to receive recognition for two of their oldest programs – Dominican Republic (established in 1964) and Bolivia (1965) – and two of Alfalit’s newest programs – Angola (2002) and Liberia (2006.)
  • In 1991, Swedish Medical Mission Foundation Lakarmissionen donated two million books for Alfalit’s literacy and basic education programs, greatly enriching the program’s scope. In 1994, Alfalit signed a cooperate agreement with Lakarmissionen to begin a five-year literacy program in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This cooperative agreement was extended to cover programs in Central and South America and Africa, and continue to date.
  • Alfalit’s financial support comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID,) private foundations and individual donors. USAID has been a most important partner in helping Alfalit to accomplish significant gains in education through two Cooperative Agreements with USAID, which granted alfalit $5.49 million between 2002 and 2007, and $10.49 million between 2006 and 2014.
  • In the first agreement with USAID, Alfalit supported USAID’s education efforts by providing literacy and basic education classes to over 168,000 participants and training over 3,500 literacy teachers. Alfalit served 113,000 students in Bolivia, over 15,000 in the Dominican Republic and close to 40,000 in Angola. In these USAID-supported countries, Alfalit became the premier provider of literacy programs.
  • Because of the success in Angola, USAID awarded Alfalit $2.99 million to support the program over a five-year period, adding another $7.5 million over five years.
  • Alfalit’s success in working with USAID between 2002 and 2007 includes raising $7.8 million in matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions), which is six times above USAID’s requirement of 24% and represents $1.42 for each $1 of funding.
  • Alfalit produced 500,000 literacy and basic education texts and materials, and provided training to Alfalit Liberia’s teachers through a subcontract of $500,000 through the African Education Initiative/USAID.
  • Alfalit Liberia has received $100,000 from the McCall McBain Foundation that recently extended its grant to provide $550,000 over the next two years due to the success of the program.
  • In mid-2011 Alfalit entered into agreements with two groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the RODE Foundation and the DRC Conference of the United Methodist Church to launch Alfalit DRC in Katanga, Lubumbashi, Kinshasa and Kamina in early 2012.
  • Plans are also in the works with the cooperation of the United Methodist Church to expand Alfalit to Uganda and South Sudan in 2012.
  • Additionally, Alfalit has received significant funds from our non-profit organizations and foundations such as the Sirleaf Market Women’s Funds, Word Vision, Rotary Clubs, the Angolan Lutheran Church and The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR.)
  • On October 20, 2011, Alfalit’s President Roberto P. Perez received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony. This is one of the highest recognitions awarded to citizens of the United States of America.
  • President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her tireless work for “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” President Sirleaf Johnson has been a strong and faithful supporter of Alfalit Liberia and a key participant in making possible the great success of this program,