“In a globalizing world, access to information is vital to build more inclusive, sustainable knowledge societies”
- Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
On the 28th September 2017, the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO once
again celebrated the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Declared by UNESCO in 2015, this day aims to create awareness of the importance of access to information in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and is celebrated all over the world. At the same time, this day seeks to inform the public about their individual right to information.
Being aware of this right and making use of it through for instance, the internet, social media, newspapers and books entails numerous benefits: it enhances individual opportunities of women and men, drives innovation and autonomous learning, enables people to acquire knowledge on almost any topic possible. Therefore, access to information is a key factor of development and advancement, also for the people in Lesotho. However, this day is also an opportunity to once more point out the importance of transparency across governmental and non-governmental institutions, as it promotes a culture of interest and critical thinking among the wider public.
In order to pay tribute to this day, the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO decided to hand out free books to everyone passing by the building of the National Commission. Books are not only a symbol for the dissemination and acquisition of knowledge, they also stand for a sustainable and good education, the freedom of expression, literacy and transparency. By distributing books, the National Commission wanted to demonstrate the importance of lifelong learning and the constant strive for knowledge and information. Among others, books on learning Sesotho, UNESCO-published books and information booklets about UNESCO topics were distributed. In addition, a number of creative and informative posters about the day were designed and visibly displayed.
The reception of this activity was very positive: the National Commission managed to give away all books in a very short period of time. By-passers did not only show genuine interest in the books, they also seemed keen to learn about the International Day for Universal Access to Information, as well as the general work of the National Commission in Lesotho.
The Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO hopes to make people in Lesotho aware of their right to know and to be informed, as well as the different opportunities around them. For instance, the library at the UNESCO National Commission is open to everyone and provides numerous book resources as well as free access to the internet. The National Commission hopes that in the future, more people will make use of these opportunities and strive for a better education and better possibilities.