Washinton, DC (September 7, 2012) — A call for innovative solutions to improve early grade reading in the developing world elicited more than 450 submissions from more than 75 countries. Today, at an International Literacy Day celebration at USAID headquarters in Washington, USAID and its partners World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) announced 32 winning innovations under All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development grant competition.
“Today, on International Literacy Day, it is appropriate to celebrate an initiative that will contribute so much to getting children around the world reading. The ability to read is central to all aspects of a child’s life and future. Yet, 61 million boys and girls are out of school. And just as troubling, schooling doesn’t always translate into learning,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.
All Children Reading, launched in November 2011, is a multi-year partnership to find and fund ground-breaking solutions for illiteracy and to inspire global action around this critical issue. The particular focus of the competition was to catalyze innovative practices and target applied research for improving teaching and learning materials and enhancing the quality and accessibility of education data to support decision-making. The 32 selected award nominees propose innovations in more than 20 countries. Half of the innovators are from low-income countries. All winners showcased their innovations at a DevelopmentXChange session.
“Since the ability to read is the most basic skill required to overcome poverty, one of humanity’s greatest challenges is to invent ways to ensure that all of our children are reading. If we fail, tragically their vast potential will be lost to all of us,” said Kofi Essien, project manager for Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Ghana. OLE Ghana proposes to develop and deploy a national network of low-cost digital libraries. Other innovators will address critical needs for teaching materials in a child’s mother tongue, teaching and learning tools for the blind, and more accurate and timely data to make the right decisions to improve learning.
“Our work in communities around the world over the past 60 years has taught us that education, particularly for young girls, is absolutely foundational to the future success of a country," said Kent Hill, senior vice president of international programs at World Vision. "By seeking innovative new ideas for reading and education, we are focusing our efforts on one of the areas of community development that brings the greatest dividends for the future."
“Education is one of the best investments we can make to lift people out of poverty and that’s why it is the flagship of the Australian aid program,” AusAID Director General Peter Baxter said. “One-fifth of Australia’s overseas aid budget is targeted at literacy and other education programs. AusAID is proud to be working with USAID and World Vision to inspire innovations that will bring the joys and benefits of reading to children and their families.”
In addition to the announcement of All Children Reading innovators, the International Literacy Day event, hosted in collaboration with the Brookings Institution and the Global Partnership for Education, featured education leaders, senior Obama Administration officials, and taped messages, from former First Lady Laura Bush and others, discussing efforts to achieve quality education for all.
For more information, visit www.AllChildrenReading.org.
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About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews