Spotlight on Literacy Programs -- 8 to celebrate!

Photo credit: FunDza Literacy Trust

Did you know? There are over 100 programs focused on Literacy on the Center for Education Innovations platform. On September 8th, we celebrated International Literacy Day and called on these programs to share their incredible work -- and they delivered! Now, it is our chance to celebrate them!

Below, we have highlighted 8 literacy programs, working tirelessly across geographies and age groups. They increase access to local reading materials, promote playful learning, leverage accessible technologies, empower marginalized communities, and spark a lifetime love of reading! We continue to be inspired by their work and hope you are, too! Join us in celebrating these programs and keep an eye out for more literacy resources as we continue to share the outputs from the Project Literacy Community of Practice!

  1. VVOB – Education for Development kicked us off with an excellent blog highlighting their work on USAID Let’s Read project, which seeks to improve literacy outcomes for learners in Zambia. Leveraging 35+ years of experience in Africa, Asia, and South America, VVOB provides training and on-going coaching support to 2,850 pre-primary teachers to implement play-based emergent literacy activities, ensuring children have a strong foundation to enter primary school. In addition to improving teacher capacity and the classroom environment, VVOB engages parents and community members to facilitate emergent reading outside the classroom. By developing ‘Master Trainers’ at the Ministry of General Education, they aim to ensure these approaches continue beyond the project’s 5 year time horizon.

  2. FunDza Literacy Trust helps young South Africans develop a love for reading by delivering youth-friendly content via cellphones. FunDza’s mobi site is updated continuously with short stories, life advice, non-fiction articles, reflecting the lives, choices, values, and stories of young South Africans. FunDza not only delivers content but supports the development of its readers, offering them the opportunity to submit and publish their own work in the Fanz section. Promising Fanz writers are offered mentorships with experienced writers, often progressing to producing paid content and serving as part of FunDza’s professional writers' pool!

  3. MangoTree focuses on developing innovative resources to spark conversation and learning around key education, health, and other topics across East Africa, often combining its education materials with teacher instruction and training. Mango Tree’s Literacy Lab fosters a culture of reading in the Lango Sub-region of Uganda by training and mentoring teachers, engaging communities, and publishing reading materials in local African languages. The Lab is also focused on learning from its efforts, employing research methods to demonstrate the impact of its work and how it can be scaled.

  4. Luganda Lusoga Lugwere Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commission also promotes the teaching, learning and usage of Ugandan languages in public life, as part of broader initiative of the African Union to encourage African languages as factors of integration, development, respect for values, mutual understanding and peace. The Commission works to develop reading clubs, translate scientific material, and identify and compile folk tales in local languages, increasing the use of the Ugandan languages in all domains of life.

  5. Worldreader - Global education-technology nonprofit Worldreader continues to provide e-readers and e-books to schools, libraries, and communities in Sub-saharan Africa and beyond. This International Literacy Week, Worldreader announced a strategic partnership with Reliance Jio to bring children’s books to over 150 million in India. Courtney Randle’s recent blog, “8 Ideas for Parents to Make “Home-schooling” Work,” also reminded us the value of reading - to de-stress, to check-in with those you love, and as a launchpad for other creative activities. You can access Worldreader’s FREE library of digital books via BookSmart at bebooksmart.com. 

  6. Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Ghana aims to provide low-cost, solar-powered technology for teachers and students. Profiled as one of 18 initiatives on the EdTech Hub’s 2020 Radar, OLE Ghana has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide various programs, including Ghana Reads, a self-paced approach to literacy-building that emphasizes individual learning plans via low-costs tablets that link to an offline digital library. OLE Ghana is part of the Open Learning Exchange family, which has partnered with country-based organizations in Peru, Mexico, United States, Canada, Togo, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Madagascar, Turkey, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Jordan, Nepal, India, and Cambodia.

  7. Women’s Global Empowerment Fund’s Literacy Program provides women in Gulu, Uganda, who have missed out on education due to the region's long and brutal conflict, the opportunity to learn to read and write in both their local language and in English through an 8-month literacy training program, accredited by the National Literacy Examination. WGEF aims to address inequality, facilitate empowerment, and alleviate poverty by supporting women to access the tools necessary to create viable opportunities for themselves and their families.

  8. DreamCatcher is a bus fitted with computers offering street children free access to e-learning to improve literacy and numeracy skills. Operated by the WEMA Centre in Mombasa, Kenya, the mobile unit visits areas with high populations of street children, using interactive games and a peer outreach model to encourage youth to return to formal education. In addition to games that help children develop a basic understanding of mathematics and English language, the WEMA Centre also provides some food, counselling, and medical referral services.

Curious to know more? We invite you to check out the other literacy programs profiled on our site! Or tell us more about your work by adding a blog post and tweeting us @CEInnovations. We will happily link and share your incredible work.