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All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development – Program Research & Generating Insights for Scale-Up

AGORA_ACR

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.

Participation from Ministry of Education Increases Sense of Pride in Morocco’s Educational Advances

A unique aspect of School-to-School International’s work in Morocco is the use of officials from the Moroccan Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOE) as enumerators, or data collectors, for the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). Good enumerators are vital to the success of an assessment because they assure students that they are not being graded on their responses and create a relaxed atmosphere for the students when conducting an oral assessment of their literacy skills. This positive environment prepares the students to perform to their best ability while being tested. Using Ministry officials as enumerators builds their capacity and enables them to continue to conduct assessments after the project ends. This model had even farther reaching effects in Morocco because, through continuous participation and involvement, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training took greater ownership of the project.

Dear STS Supporters: Fatoumata’s Story

Dear School-to-School International supporters:

Three years ago, I met a fourth-grade student named Fatoumata Diouf at STS’s partner school in Filimia in the Boke region of western Guinea. She was an ideal candidate for the girls’ scholarship program. In addition to meeting all the scholarship criteria, Fatoumata showed exceptional promise and enthusiasm for learning while also facing a particularly difficult home life. Fatoumata is one of these special cases.

Dear Girls of Guinea: I am Humbled by the Obstacles You Overcome

Dear Girls of Guinea,

For the past three years, I have had the honor of working in Guinea to make schools better for you—to make the physical spaces of school safer by installing wells and latrines and to make the culture more welcoming by working with your teachers, parents, and communities to change the social norms that can often keep you from attending.

Dear Girls of Guinea: You are Improving Your Communities

Dear Girls of Guinea,

I write to thank and congratulate you and your families for your commitment to continuing your education and learning.

I know that school itself can be challenging, and that finding time and space to do your homework and study for exams requires hard work and creativity every single day. Finding the money to pay for school fees or uniforms can make enrolling and staying in school difficult. Finding the time to do your homework can be difficult when you need to take care of your brothers and sisters or when there’s housework that needs to get done.

Dear Girls of Guinea: Empowered, Educated Women are Necessities

Dear Girls of Guinea,

I know how hard you work every day, not just in the classroom, but also at home. I realize fetching water from the well or helping to cook a meal may seem more important in the eyes of your family and your community, but I hope you realize what’s most important—your education. I understand water and food are necessities for a thriving community, but so are empowered, educated women.

Dear Girls of Guinea: I Hope You Find Comfort in Your Studies

Dear Girls of Guinea,

Congratulations, you are halfway through the school year!

Thinking back to when I was a girl around your age, I remember the excitement that the half-year mark brought: I was now one of the older “cool” kids at school and that much closer to the next grade. But I know there are some challenges too.

A Year in Guinea

For more than a decade School-to-School International has implemented and refined an approach that embodies our founding principle: In order for students to thrive, they must have their basic needs fulfilled. We have pursued activities from all three components of the Whole Child Model—Education, Health, and Community Engagement—reaching over 2,600 students in Guinea in the 2015-16 school year alone.

But what does that look like in practice? Below is a snapshot of this year in Guinea.

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