The Forerunners of LitRAG’s Timeline

Rotary’s original Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Committee considered literacy education to be a program priority.

Rotary International acknowledged literacy not only as a pressing concern, but also as a pre-condition for attaining peace in the world. An ad hoc Literacy Promotion Committee, chaired by PDG Dick Walker, was created to promote Rotary-sponsored literacy projects and to develop and recommend to the RI Board plans to address adult functional illiteracy in local communities and mass illiteracy in economically developing countries.

The Rotary Source Book, edited by PDG Eve Malmquist, The Right to Read: Literacy Around the World, was published. It reported on world literacy rates and identified aspects of the problem of widespread illiteracy that needed to be addressed before an adequate response could emerge.   

The Rotary International Board declared a ten-year emphasis on literacy education. 

The Rotary International Literacy Task Force, a network of Rotarians in the various global Zones, was established to:

  • provide literacy training for children and adults;

  • mentor young people;

  • provide support for community schools, and

provide educational opportunities for individuals with low economic resources.

The Rotary International Board extended the emphasis on literacy education until 2000.

The Rotary lnternational Board again extended the emphasis on literacy education until 2005.

RI President Sir Clem Renouf’s book, The Health, Hunger and Humanity Program of Rotary International, was published. In it, he stated:

The Lighthouse Literacy Campaign was spawned by the 3H program, and significant as the PolioPlus program is as an outcome of the 3H program, I believe that the Literacy program may well be its most beneficial and long-lasting program because of its fundamental importance, not only for the present generation. . .but also to succeeding generations who will inherit the priceless gift of literacy.

Rotary International Literacy Resource Groups were established under a General Coordinator, Dr J. Neil Adamson. They were charged with the following tasks:

  • to provide information and support to Rotary clubs and districts;

  • to encourage participation in programs and projects that promote universal literacy and educational opportunities for all;

  • to encourage clubs to undertake projects in each of Rotary’s Five Avenues of Service and plan projects supportive of the RI Strategic Plan, and

  • to promote the connection of literacy projects to those involving health, hunger and water through those particular resource groups.

The principal Literacy Resource Group produced a monthly Newsletter, initially for members in the USA and Canada, but later, inclusive of Resource Groups worldwide.

1 July – Rotary International Resource Groups were disbanded.

Rotary International approved the establishment of the Literacy Rotarian Action Group.