Launched in 2011, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is a joint-partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision, and the Australian Government. The initiative is an ongoing series of grant and prize competitions that leverage science and technology to source, test, and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries. ACR GCD Round 2 has provided ICT-focused grants to 12 organizations in 10 countries. Grantees’ projects focus on improving children’s literacy skills in a variety of ways, from providing children who have low vision or are blind in India with human-narrated audio books, to giving families in Mali immediate access to digital reading resources and local libraries, and developing multi-modal presentations to encourage children’s oral language skills in Cambodia. School-to-School International provides monitoring, evaluation and research support to ACR GCD Round 2 grantees, promoting high-quality interventions that can be adjusted during project implementation to produce the greatest impact.
The Agora Center at the University of Jyväskylä and the Centre for the Promotion of Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa (CAPOLSA) at the University of Zambia received a grant from ACR GCD in 2014 to implement the GraphoGame™ Teacher Training Service (GG-TTS) project in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The project paired the mobile reading game GraphoGame™ to assist struggling students in local language literacy with an online training website to support their teachers in literacy instruction. School-to-School International worked to strengthened Agora’s capacity in assessing the impact and sustainability of this technology-based solution.
School-to-School International provided insights to GG-TTS project implementers and funders on project successes and challenges through a variety of mixed research methods. STS utilized data from the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), end-of-project interviews with key beneficiaries and government stakeholders, fidelity of implementation measures, literature reviews, and project monitoring and evaluation information to assess the project’s scalability. These results are meant to inform local program staff, stakeholders, and donors of key considerations needed before scaling the GG-TTS project model and technology to a larger beneficiary population. School-to-School International conducted a cost analysis to both present the total cost of the intervention and recognize the investments needed for project replication or scale-up. Findings provided important lessons that can be utilized for project refinement and scale-up for funders and project implementers.