The United States is working with its partner, Rwanda, to help children read. On February 16, the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, held a launch event at Groupe Scolaire Kinyinya to highlight the U.S. government’s Early Grade Reading Project, which aims to improve the Kinyarwanda reading skills of one million children over the next four years.
The Early Grade Reading Project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Rwanda Education Board, and it consists of three activities that are valued at over 68 billion Rwandan francs or about 80 million U.S. dollars.
The U.S. government’s partnership to support Kinyarwanda literacy is built upon evidence that literacy in the first language that students speak and understand is foundational for their success in school. The Early Grade Reading Project’s three complementary activities are: the Mureke Dusome (“Let’s Read”) activity engages parents, communities, and literacy champions to help children embrace a culture of reading outside of school.
Mureke Dusome is implemented by Save the Children, in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board; The Soma Umenye (“Read and Know”) activity will train teachers and provide extra reading materials to schools. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Rwanda Education Board and advocate for policies that support reading; and the Teacher Mentorship Community of Practice program, implemented by FHI 360, U.S- based public health and international development NGO, has developed an online platform for teachers to access teaching materials and forums, and to take teaching certification courses online.
U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica J. Barks-Ruggles highlighted the importance of partnership with the Ministry of Education and civil society. Also on hand for the launch were Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education and the Director General of the Rwanda Education Board. The three worked with parents from Gicumbi district to create home-made reading materials for children.
“Our partnership with the government of Rwanda, teachers, community leaders, and parents is key to achieving Rwanda’s literacy goals as set out in Vision 2020,” said Ambassador Barks-Ruggles. “We are working with all our partners to support children’s reading ability, so that every child has the opportunity to succeed and help build Rwanda’s future.”