This article was written by Katie Collins

Almost a quarter of a million illiterate adults in Egypt, around 70 percent of whom are women, have learned to read with the help of mobile technology provided by the Vodafone Foundation.

The Vodafone Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the big red network and it has made the announcement to coincide with International Literacy Day. The number of adults who have graduated from the country’s Knowledge is Power programme currently stands at 240,000 and is soon set to reach 300,000.

The Vodafone Foundation works to identify struggles in each of the countries the network operates in, before working with local organisations to bring solutions to citizens of those countries. In Egypt it has been working with the country’s General Authority for Literacy and Adult Education to make use of a free mobile app to encourage higher rates of literacy among its adult population — and women in particular.

“Locally in Egypt there are 18 million adult Egyptians who are illiterate, so after the initial political upheavals, the Foundation said ‘what can we do to contribute most effectively using our technology to the rebuilding of the country and of civil society,'” the Foundation’s director Andrew Dunnett tells Wired.co.uk. “The overwhelming view was that if people can’t read and write it’s very difficult to have a fully functioning democracy so they wanted to work in that space.”