March 16, 2022
Of the 26.4 million refugees worldwide, around half are under 18–and that number is climbing with the Ukraine crisis. UNHCR estimates that up to 4 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, could end up as refugees. Inside Ukraine, UNICEF estimates almost 350,00 children are out of school due to the conflict.
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) has tested, implemented and scaled education technology (EdTech) solutions and tools to increase literacy and access to education for children in low-resource contexts, including resources that specifically address educational and psychosocial needs of children in conflict settings. Below are two free tools developed with ACR GCD funding and support available for immediate use and easily accessed and used in homes, temporary settlements, refugee camps, schools, reading camps and other contexts.
- Feed the Monster: This smartphone app, which helps children learn foundational language and literacy and improves psychosocial well-being, was developed in response to the Syrian refugee crisis in 2016 by ACR GCD, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), mobile operator Orange, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). Originally developed in English and Arabic, Feed the Monster was translated into an additional 48 languages–including Ukrainian–by Curious Learning after adapting the open source code, which is available on GitHub. The app, available on Google Play, now has more than 511,000 users globally, according to Curious Learning’s Follow the Learners dashboard.
- Global Digital Library: Earlier this week, the Global Digital Library launched a campaign to translate 100 early grade reading books into Ukrainian. The online platform is home to more than 6000 books in 90 languages (including Ukrainian), all of which can be read and translated on web and mobile platforms as well as downloaded or printed. It takes approximately one hour to translate one book on the platform; to participate, individuals should be fluent in both English and Ukrainian, have a keyboard in the language you will be translating into and have access to a reliable internet connection. Learn how to be involved at digitallibrary.io/Ukraine.
EdTech innovation and approaches are proven to help address gaps and barriers to child literacy in and outside of school and in crisis and emergency situations–even within less than a week. The findings from a recent study by the World Bank that provided children in northwestern Nigeria with low-cost cell phones preloaded with Feed the Monster and the Global Digital Library provides compelling evidence that EdTech can improve reading outcomes for children in low resource contexts in as little as five days, with learning outcomes continuing to improve one month out. Learn more about the study.
UNICEF reports that more than 33 million children worldwide have been forcibly displaced at the end of 2020. Due to the combined impact of forced migration crises and the pandemic, the UN estimates the number of children who lack basic reading skills–which plays a crucial role in a child’s opportunity to attend and complete their education, a proven driver in reducing poverty–has increased from 387 million prior to the pandemic to 584 million.
Be part of the solution to get all children reading. Below are additional resources for learning more about implementing EdTech in emergency and low resource contexts:
- How EdTech solutions can fill gaps and address barriers to literacy for refugee and migrant children: Learn about tools and solutions as well as guiding principles for implementing EdTech to expand education opportunities.
- Be part of the solution to increase literacy for children with disabilities: Tips, tools and ideas for policy and decision makers, educators in low resource contexts, development workers, and authors and publishers.
- Using EdTech to advance learning in languages children use and understand: Principles to develop and implement EdTech that help bridge the digital divide along with successful solutions and innovations that put those principles into action.
For more solutions and tools–ranging from free book creation software and digital learning games, apps and libraries to book tracking and data collection solutions–visit the ACR GCD Solutions Hub.
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development is a partnership between USAID, World Vision and the Australian Government.