Partnerships for literacy

World Vision continues All Children Reading Grand Challenge to support children’s literacy around the world

It’s amazing the difference that literacy can make to people’s lives.

People who can read enjoy better health, make more money, create safer and more stable democracies, and serve their communities more effectively

That's why “educated for life” is one of our aspirations for every child’s wellbeing.

If all students in low-income countries left primary school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty – the equivalent of a 12 percent drop in world poverty.

Once equipped with the power of reading, children will have greater opportunities, become life-long learners, and realize their full potential.

World Vision, USAID and the Australian Government have partnered in a multi-year initiative that seeks to improve early grade reading outcomes in under-resourced communities called All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.


Latest news:

World Vision and partners launch a second round of funding to unearth and champion technologies for improving child literacy.

Read more about the first set of innovators from the first round.

What is a Grand Challenge?

At its heart, the Grand Challenge is about finding new, innovative solutions to long-term problems that have not been solved with traditional approaches. A Grand Challenge is an opportunity to foster new ideas, engage new actors and advance innovative solutions from across the globe. 


How does the All Children Reading Grand Challenge work?

The All Children Reading Grand Challenge is about finding a solution to the problem of childhood illiteracy by leveraging all the tools at our disposal: the power of research, capitalizing on innovation, catalyzing partnerships, and increasing the utilization of science, technology, and 21st century infrastructure.

In the first round of the All Children Reading Grand Challenge we focused on collecting ideas for a solution:

• The All Children Reading competition - a multi-donor grant-making mechanism to support innovative projects that improve early grade reading outcomes.

• The Mobiles for Reading working group, a convening mechanism intended to promote dialogue and knowledge sharing focused on the use of mobile technology and mobile applications, broadly defined, for reading.

The first round received an outstanding response from more than 400 applicants, resulting in 32 project awards to organizations and universities in 22 countries. Read more about the first set of innovators.

In the second round of the Grand Challenge, funding is provided to innovators who can to unearth and champion technologies for improving child literacy. The global grant and prize competition seeks innovative ideas that leverage the transformative power of technology to leapfrog existing infrastructure challenges and empower children to read. In addition to a second round of grant funding, the Enabling Writers prize is the first of several themed prizes to be launched throughout the competition to amplify the overall initiative. A $100,000 prize will be awarded to the organization or individual that develops a software solution to help writers create reading materials in local languages for children in developing countries.

“Literacy is the cornerstone of economic and social development—171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with just basic reading skills, yet millions of children lack access to necessary tools,” said Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development has taken on this challenge, and can strengthen global literacy rates with the help of solvers from around the world.”







Why is this initiative needed?

Around the world, while efforts to increase school enrolment are working, reading results continue to lag.

Over the past ten years, primary school enrolment has increased by 42 percent in low-income countries, up 74 percent across Sub-Saharan Africa and 98 percent in South and West Asia. Participation in pre-primary education programs has increased by more than 31 percent over the past decade.

Despite this progress, in low-income countries the majority of students do not acquire basic reading skills even after four years of primary school.

Reading skills are the building blocks of all future learning. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa, a child with five years of education has a 40 percent chance of being illiterate. In Mali, Pakistan, and Peru over 70 percent of children in primary grades cannot read at grade level.

How you can help

The wonder of reading begins with one word, just as you can join the All Children Reading Grand Challenge with one word – YES.

As a rallying cry against illiteracy, we challenge non-profit companies, non-governmental organizations and associations, academic / educational research institutions, faith-based organizations, civil society and foundations, literacy advocacy organizations – YOU – to create innovative solutions to advance literacy in developing countries around the world.

The All Children Reading Grand Challenge isn’t just about giving the gift of literacy to children, it is about equipping children with the skills to combat poverty, improve health outcomes, increase national stability, and increase employment potential worldwide. Together we can help millions of children in under-resourced communities.

Visit to take on the Grand Challenge.