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Reflecting contemporary interest in developing new adult literacy learning programmes based on ‘literacy for livelihoods’, this article examines some case studies from New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Egypt, illustrating literacy being used in livelihoods, and relates these to the kind of literacy being taught in many adult literacy programmes today. It argues that people often change their livelihoods, and that each livelihood has literacy practices embedded within it. The authors suggest that the use of these literacy practices embedded within the livelihood activities might be a better starting point for adult literacy learning than a school-based textbook.

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