Australia-USA partnership with World Vision to improve literacy

World Vision Australia today welcomed the announcement by President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard of a new partnership between Australian and US government agencies and World Vision to improve the reading skills of school children in developing nations.

The new US$20 million program is to be launched in Washington DC tomorrow, and is part of a new co-operative arrangement between Australia’s federal aid agency AusAID and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address global development challenges.

The All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development program is a partnership between the government aid agencies and World Vision’s Australian and US offices, and will seek innovative approaches to improve reading outcomes for children in poor countries during the first three years of primary education.

“Education is one of the keys to unlock children’s lives from the scourge of poverty,” World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello said.
“Reading is critical for education, and our experience is that children who are able to read grasp the opportunities put before them to participate in the community and the economy. Building classrooms and schools is important, but helping children’s wellbeing through achieving education is vital.”

The first two initiatives under the scheme are a fund which will select via competitive tender pioneering thinking and on-the-ground implementation that can be scaled up to national level in early years of schooling, and the introduction of mobile technology that will bring reading skills to follow the rapid spread of technology in developing countries.

The approach is based on the model of the highly successful "Saving Lives at Birth" Grand Challenge that was co-sponsored by USAID, the Gates' Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the Norwegian Government and the World Bank, and introduced new and effective solutions to save the lives of mothers and children. 

The All Children Reading Fund is open to applicants throughout the world. Through the fund, businesses, social enterprises, entrepreneurs, non-profits, academic institutions, and other organisations from Australia and around the world are invited to submit innovative ideas or programs for improving student reading in primary grades and compete for grant funding.

For further information visit the website -

For interviews with World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello, contact Bill Pheasant on 0413 701 028 

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