October 24, 2022
This World Development Information Day, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is highlighting how our partners exemplify international cooperation to solve one of the world’s greatest development challenges: breaking down barriers to literacy for the 584 million children waiting for the chance to learn to read.
World Development Information Day recognizes that information and communications technologies provide new solutions to development problems, including access to information and eradication of poverty. When organizations work together, these efforts to address global challenges are far more effective.
ACR GCD, which is a partnership of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, is an example of international cooperation between two government agencies and a nongovernmental organization (NGO).
Together, we address one of USAID’s Grand Challenges for Development (GCDs), which mobilize governments, companies and foundations around important issues. Partners in each GCD source solutions and test ideas to solve development problems. ACR GCD’s mission is to advance education technology (EdTech) innovation and research to improve reading outcomes for marginalized children in low resource contexts.
Through the partnership, ACR GCD is a sandbox for innovation. We absorb the risk of research and development by funding innovators to source new solutions, test ideas and scale what works so the entire education sector can benefit. As a result of their innovation, children in low resource contexts around the world learn to read.
ACR GCD’s collaborative research and development has led to the creation of cutting-edge solutions, such as popular gamified learning apps, high-quality digital storybooks and interactive book creation software. For example, learning apps like Feed the Monster, which is available in more than 50 languages and 600,000+ users, teach children to read and write in languages they use and understand through a fun “play to learn” technique. Digital storybooks in underserved languages, including sign language and braille, are available for free on online libraries like Let’s Read Asia, Bloom and World Around You. Bloom and World Around You also host book creation software, and guides from eKitabu help creators make digital books more accessible, with consideration for image descriptions, dyslexic fonts and optional sign language videos.
Through the development of EdTech solutions and research, the partnership seeks to improve access, equity and inclusion in technology and education. The 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report features interviews with ACR GCD awardees on solutions, training, needs assessment and advocacy to ensure all children, including children with disabilities, receive literacy support and resources at an early age.
One of the common threads to innovation and scaling solutions is access to free, open-source software. There is no paywall for any of ACR GCD’s solutions. They are free to use and can be adapted to suit the needs of different organizations. Browse e-books in more than 90 languages with Global Digital Library, build accessible books with Bloom book creation software, or scale learning app code from Feed the Monster or Antura and the Letters with GitHub.
By combining the treasures and talents of our partner organizations, ACR GCD is ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn to read.
Be Part of the Solution!
Education in the 21st century must leverage innovation and technology to help children learn to read, complete school and escape poverty.
You can be part of the solution for the more than 584 million children globally waiting for the chance to learn to read.
Explore our solutions hub and increase literacy opportunities for children in your region. Interested in EdTech innovation? Consider collaborating with us and join our partnership of over 30 organizations committed to improving reading outcomes for children in low resource contexts.
By Jamie Brian, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development