Supporting Literacy and Quality Education

UNESCO’s International Literacy Day is raising awareness globally on the issues surrounding childhood and adult literacy.

We know that literacy rates are intrinsically linked to breaking cycles of poverty in the world’s poorest regions. But solving the issue of global literacy is not something that can happen overnight, it takes time, effort and resources in order to make a difference. 

That is why we have aligned our business to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and pride ourselves on disseminating research that really matters, so that we can help empower decision makers to improve quality education and impact individuals’ lives around the world.

Until International Literacy Day 2020, we are dedicating 365 days of our employees’ time around the world, to help those that need it with literacy.

We recognise that literacy is not something that can be changed overnight, but every contribution we make can help to break the cycle, one day at a time.  

Find out how we’re helping to break the cycle

Check out the differences between childhood and adult literacy around the world and see how Emerald is making a difference in these regions through our pledge to improving literacy.

826 Boston

Boston, USA

Global Literacy Fact: In the United States, more than 30 million adults cannot read, write or do basic math above third-grade level (source – ProLiteracy)

How are we helping?

We volunteered with 826 Boston - a non-profit youth writing and publishing organisation that empowers traditionally under-served students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life. They provide after-school tutoring, field trips, creative writing workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English Language Learners, and in-depth publishing projects. The Emerald team helped elementary school children with their writing, to understand the parts of a story and helped them with spelling and grammar. Every child was then given their story as a book to take away with them.

Location: Boston, USA

Partnerships: 826 Boston

Naia | Núcleo Assistencial Irmão Alfredo

Latin America

Global Literacy Fact: In Latin America, nearly 35 million people over the age of 15 cannot read or write; an average of 10% (source: DVV International)

How are we helping?

Emerald has volunteered with Naia | Núcleo Assistencial Irmão Alfredo, an NGO that operates as an extra curriculum school where underprivileged children and teenagers have tutoring classes, art classes and vocational courses. We encouraged them to write a book with drawings and to create a story collaboratively in groups.

Location: Latin America

Partnerships: Naia | Núcleo Assistencial Irmão Alfredo

National Literacy Trust and One in a Million Free School

Bradford, UK

Global Literacy Fact: 16.4 % of adults in England, or 7.1 million people, can be described as having ‘very poor literacy skills’ (source: National Literacy Trust)

How are we helping?

Emerald worked with the National Literacy Trust on a 5 week programme to help the students at One in a Million Free School in Bradford develop the skills necessary for work.

Mr Rees, Principal of One in a Million said “Thankyou to all the professionals who volunteered. Your contribution to the development of the literacy within our school is much appreciated by students and staff alike. Good literacy skills are an essential attribute and encouraging students to enhance and develop their understanding is vital.”

Location: Bradford, UK

Partnerships: National Literacy Trust and One in a Million Free School

Daniel Ingram-Brown and One in a Million Free School

Bradford, UK

Global Literacy Fact: Globally, at least 750 million youth and adults still cannot read and write, and 250 million children are failing to acquire basic literacy skills (source: UNA-UK)

How are we helping?

Inspiring the writers of tomorrow on World Book Day. Students from One in a Million Free School visited Emerald Publishing Head Office, for an inspiring talk by Author Daniel Ingram-Brown. Daniel spoke about the life of a writer, whilst also an insight into the creative process that goes into book writing. Students were given the chance to take part in a Q&A with Daniel, and show their creative writing skills as they participated in a creative writing breakout session. Daniel also provided feedback on some of the short stories the children wrote during the breakout session, providing the them with aspiration and confidence.

Location: Bradford, UK

Partnerships: Daniel Ingram-Brown and One in a Million Free School

Growing Points

Leeds, UK

Global Literacy Fact:Nine million adults in the UK are functionally illiterate meaning they are more likely to be unemployed or in low-paid jobs (Source: The Guardian)

How are we helping?

One of our Emerald colleagues spent her free time working with the team at Growing Points on their Hidden Talents programme, a scheme which offers support to local refugees and asylum seekers during the recruitment process at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The day involved delivering a workshop for those candidates that have secured interviews with the Leeds NHS Trust, talking them through best practice in interviews and discussing some of the cultural differences between the UK and the countries that the participants have come from, in order to help them reach their full potential in their interviews. The day was rewarding for the workshop facilitators and the participants as they start to make positive changes to their lives.

This support doesn’t stop there, once this cohort has completed the interview process, mentoring continues helping them navigate the early days of work and simultaneously begins with the next cohort of applicants to the program.

Location: Leeds, UK

Partnerships: Growing Points

Remote library


Global Literacy Fact:The closest library to the village of Desa Impian in Merbau Sempak, is 10km away – making access to reading and learning materials difficult for the local community.

How are we helping?

Mr Haji Ahmad Sutan, a retired teacher has turned an old van into a mini library in his local village of Desa Impian in Merbau Sempak Village, Malaysia to instil the habit of reading in children and the local community. He also going to train four students to become a Librarian to help with the running of this mini library. Mr Ahmad is also teaching Japanese to 15 students and adults and hopes to have other language classes in the future.

Employees based in our Malaysia office visited Mr Ahmad and donated 67 books of different genres from basic phonetic and childrens reading books, to biographies and leadership.

Location: Malaysia

Hope Malaysia


Global Literacy Fact: In Southern Asia, youth literacy rates rose from 50% in 1990 to 89% in 2016 (source: UNESCO)

How are we helping?

Along with HOPE Malaysia, Emerald took part in the MY Reading Program – a program to help underprivileged children learn and appreciate English in a fun and lively environment through activities such as phonics teaching, one-to-one reading exercises and games.

Location: Malaysia

Partnerships: Hope Malaysia

Publish open access in our quality education for all gateway

Education and learning is a key part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the aim to make universal, lifelong learning available to all. Our quality education for all gateway on our Emerald Open Research platform aims to address the fundamental challenges facing education and learning, today and in the future. The gateway presents a unique world of opportunities for researchers and allows content to reach a global audience, whilst also being published rapidly.