All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development competition seeks innovations to reach students in conflict and crisis zones

The All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) partners – in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) – today announced a “Technology to Support Education in Crisis and Conflict Settings” challenge to source ideas for innovative, technology-supported approaches for children to maintain access to basic education despite disruptions experienced during crisis or conflict.  The challenge seeks solutions for three scenarios—a health crisis, like the current Ebola crisis, natural disasters and conflict zones.

“One of the major consequences for children living in the midst of a conflict or humanitarian crises is that many of them can’t attend school.  Even after the crisis or conflict subsides, this interruption has long-term repercussions on students’ educational attainment and cognitive development, stalling or reversing hard-fought educational gains in affected regions,” explained Charles North, USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator.

The competition seeks appropriate, cost-effective and sustainable uses of a broad range of technologies that can be used within the first six months following a crisis, when infrastructure is compromised and teachers are scarce.

Solutions should reinforce and improve upon the existing curriculum, build on functioning infrastructure and services and be appropriate for the age group and local context. The top three winners in each category will be awarded up to $5,000.

“The winning entries will successfully find creative ways to use information and communications technologies to reach and teach children who are outside of traditional school settings, improving their reading skills and giving them the opportunity to enjoy learning again,” stated Rebecca Leege, World Vision’s Project Director for All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.

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Established in 2011 as a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, ACR GCD solicits creative, cost-effective innovations to improve reading for children in early grades. Round 2 was launched in 2014 and includes grant and prize competitions seeking technology-based innovations to improve literacy outcomes by focusing on mother tongue instruction and reading materials, family and community engagement, and children with disabilities.


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One Response to “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development competition seeks innovations to reach students in conflict and crisis zones”

  1. Lisa February 19, 2015 at 1:59 am #

    While a lot of apps & tech solutions can be dreamed up, they’re expensive & what happens when a kid drops or loses his tablet? Or after four hours, the tablet dies, and no electricity for a few days?
    Using plain old SMS Text & Voice calls are a great option because they work on any mobile phone, including feature phones which most people have access to (also don’t break easily & hold a charge for days).
    Here’s a blog post I wrote about a project that increased children’s literacy rates by 50% using only SMS Text:
    I work for engageSPARK, which people might be interested in using for their projects. We have built the easiest to use solution for a non-techie person to launch interactive Voice Call or SMS Text campaigns in just minutes, anywhere in the world for any number of people. Send Blasts, Surveys, Reminders, Alerts, and SMS Auto Responders that you design in minutes using simple 1-2-3 step wizards. Imagine easily creating a Voice IVR in just minutes to do an education course with quizzes – for thousands of illiterate people or children who are still learning! visit, or send us an email at

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