BALID is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoting adult and family literacy and numeracy as a basic human right, in the context of development. As a UK charity, BALID brings together organisations and individuals who believe that sharing experience about learning and literacy can help enrich workers and citizens in both the industrial and the developing world. This is because, as our header photo (of a literacy parade in Vanuatu) declares, ‘Literacy imparts longevity!’ – and much else besides.

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For up-to-date information about our activities, please visit our Facebook page. On this website you will also find more detailed information about our latest book, and our Informal Literacy Discussions.

Our aims are to:

  • promote literacy and numeracy for adults and families as an integral part of human development;
  • increase awareness of the relationship between literacy, numeracy, economic development and social change, in partnership with other appropriate organisations;
  • inform and advise governments, NGOs and the private sector on adult literacy and numeracy within the context of development;
  • contribute to programmes for adult literacy and numeracy;
  • facilitate interactions and exchanges between those working in adult literacy and numeracy programmes;
  • exchange experiences and research findings in order to inform future practice.

Whilst we welcome all comers to our meetings, we do encourage membership, so that we can keep in contact, inform you of upcoming meetings, and enjoy sharing experience and expertise. The benefits of membership also include reduced rates for attendance at our Informal Literacy Discussions.

BALID is managed by an Executive Committee, which includes individual members from different sectors who wish to promote literacy, as well as academics and practitioners working and researching the field in many different parts of the world. Please click on the names to learn more about the current committee members.

BALID Executive Committee

President:   Professor Brian Street

Chair:   Dr Katy Newell-Jones

Secretary:   Dr Juliet McCaffery

Treasurer:   Dr Ian Cheffy

Executive member:   Dr Mary Anderson

Executive member: Tara Furlong

Our annual report 2014-15 outlines much of our recent activity. The BALID committee and our members maintain both formal and informal connections to a range of organisations, and these relationships are in constant development. Links to news, reports and events in the field of literacy can also be found on our Facebook page.



In past years, BALID has organised several conferences both in the UK and abroad.

An Uppingham Seminar was held from 7-9 April 2016 under the title ‘The sustainable Eduation Development Goals and Adult Learning Programmes: why have adults largely been excluded in the past and are there signs of a change?’ For more information, please email info@uppinghamseminars.co.uk

BALID and The Literacy Working Group (LWG) supported by NIACE and BAICE, linked up with the University of East Anglia (UEA), in order to organise three free ‘Bridging the Gap’ seminars addressing the issue of dialogue and cooperation between researchers and NGOs in the field of women’s literacy. The first was held at the UKFIET conference in Oxford in September 2015, the second was at UEA on 23rd October, and the last was held on 26th November at The Mothers’ Union in London. A report on these events will be available shortly.

BAICE Thematic Forum: Invisible or hidden? Challenging discourses around ‘skills deficit, was held on Wednesday 6th May 2015 at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK.