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PRESS RELEASE August 3, 2017

REACH and Global Book Alliance Award US$1.5 Million to Innovative Projects in Cambodia, South Africa and Zambia

WASHINGTON,  August 3, 2017 — Cambodia, South Africa and Zambia are among the winners of the latest Global Book Alliance/REACH for Reading Call for Proposals to support innovations that get the right books to all children at the right time. Each recipient will receive close to half a million dollars to transform the quality and availability of primary grade textbooks and reading materials for underserved languages.

Around the world, 250 million children are unable to read. In many countries, learning assessments have found that more than 50 percent of students can’t read a single word after several years of school. In some countries, there are as few as one textbook for every 14 children. Without basic literacy, children can’t go on to learn math, science and other subjects.

Research has shown that facilitating access to appropriate textbooks and reading materials is one of the most high impact and cost-effective ways of increasing learning outcomes at primary school level in low- and middle-income countries. Access to books, in languages children understand, along with effective instruction, are critical parts of learning to read.

The Global Book Alliance joins the forces of so many development partners, the private sector and non-governmental organizations to transform the development, procurement and distribution of books across the world,” said Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, Chair of the Global Book Alliance and Head of Education Policy & Advocacy at Save the Children. “The projects announced today get us a step closer to achieving the goal of providing all young students with the essential materials they need to fulfill their learning potential.”

The awardees include:

World Education (Cambodia): Enhancing Book Distribution will use Track & Trace software to increase the visibility of end-to-end data in the supply chain and enable school support committees, school staff, parents, district administrators, and staff from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to better track book delivery.
Room to Read (South Africa): The National Public-Private Storybook Development Initiative will facilitate a public-private partnership, using results-based financing, to develop national guidelines in order to create and distribute reading books. This initiative is in support of the government’s Read to Lead campaign (2015-2019).

World Bank (Zambia): The Evaluating Results Based Textbook Delivery Systems project will improve the Ministry of General Education’s coordination and communication systems to reduce corruption in the supply chain, strengthen local language educational policy, and improve access to books for grades 1-4.

The open call received over 250 proposals from public and private partners in 64 countries. The submissions were reviewed using a rigorous selection and interview process. Approval criteria included technical soundness, strategic opportunity for long-term engagement, and government and partner commitment. The projects will last between six months to two years.

The Global Book Alliance/REACH for Reading Call for Proposals is a joint initiative by the Results for All Children (REACH) trust fund, housed at the World Bank, and the Global Book Alliance, a multi-partner alliance. The initiative is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The next REACH for Reading call for proposals will be announced in Fall 2017.

Note to editors:

The Results in Education for All Children (REACH) program supports efforts toward more and better education services, especially to those most excluded, by helping country systems focus more sharply on results.


The Global Book Alliance aims to transform the development, procurement and distribution of books, with an initial focus on books for reading instruction and practice in the primary grades and in underserved languages. Its vision is an education system in which all children have access to a quality education where they develop the key skill of literacy during the early grades.




Washington, DC
Patricia da Camara