By: John Boonstra on August 04, 2009 …but the UNESCO Literacy Prizes have certainly gone to deserving winners, which were this year awarded on the theme of “Literacy and Empowerment.” To wit: The second award of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize goes to the NGO Nirantar’s project “Khabar Lahariya” – “news waves” – in Uttar Pradesh, northern India. It has created a rural fortnightly newspaper entirely produced and marketed by “low caste” women, distributed to more than 20,000 newly literate readers. Its well-structured method of training newly literate women as journalists and democratizing information production provides an easily replicated model of transformative education. Without making a vulgar comparison, this kind of effort reminds me of Washington, D.C.’s own Street Sense, which has always struck me as an innovative and productive way to take on poverty and homelessness. That such an initiative is thriving with “low caste” women in India is incredibly heartening.