Interview with team leader Jelle Vennik, Reading and Writing Foundation
What is your team’s responsibility in ELINET?
This team works on awareness raising. One out of five Europeans has literacy difficulties and cannot read and write well. We work on possible solutions in different ways. For instance, we develop a list with good practices on one hand, and a toolkit with new, innovative tools on the other. Next, we will launch an EU campaign at the International Literacy Day. All tools of Team Awareness Raising are based on scientific information and experience of the ELINET members, and all tools are piloted. Thus, at the end of ELINET we know what works well and what does not, in order to be able to give reliable advices for future solutions.
What do you hope to achieve with the network?
Personally, I hope that ELINET will be more than a project, but the base for an active and growing network, also for the long run.
What are the main challenges?
It is not easy to manage a team with team members spread all over Europe. But it should be seen as a great chance to cooperate with so many experts in the literacy field, and not seen as a problem. And it gives a lot of energy to work with such experienced and enthusiastic team members!
How can those obstacles be overcome?
In our team we started with a strong base of internal communication. Some of our internal communication tools: internal newsletter, video team meetings, live team meetings, skype calls, interaction between the separate team members (sometimes paired together). Moreover, the combination of different fields of expertise of the different team members and the mutual respect for that, makes us a strong team, with a lot of positive energy in my opinion.
Personally, how did you become interested in literacy work?
My academic background is in linguistics and policy studies, so working on literacy promotion really allows me to bring these two interests together. The stories of Literacy Ambassadors – people who had literacy difficulties but overcame them after following a course – are the biggest inspiration for me. They prove that literacy is the basis for opportunity and it’s very rewarding to be able to contribute to that.