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Distribution of books in Ethiopia done in partnership with “Ethiopia Reads”

Photo credits: Yared Shumete

Opportunities to read and learn at home are critical to improving children’s learning, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and related learning loss. Expanding access to books for children to Read@Home with their parents and caregivers is essential during this crisis and a smart investment at any time. 

The Read@Home program is delivering reading, learning, and play materials in languages children understand to hard-to-reach homes, using enhanced procurement to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Read@Home is also developing materials and activities to support parents and caregivers to read with their children. The initiative targets families with children ages 3-12 who are unlikely to have access to books or other remote learning approaches.

The World Bank’s Read@Home team has developed a manual and guidance notes to help Bank teams and country clients select books and other materials, support parents and caregivers to read with children at home, and improve procurement and distribution.

Read@Home supports countries and teams with: (i) just-in-time technical assistance to complement country efforts to source, select, and procure quality reading and learning materials for children in appropriate languages and accompanying materials for parents and caregivers; (ii) technical assistance to complement country efforts to improve efficiency and reduce costs in book procurement and distribution; and (iii) funding to incentivize the allocation of resources (on a matching basis) to Read@Home programs. 

The team is producing a range of global public goods, including: 

  1. Global Manual  to help countries identify and prepare packages of high-quality reading, learning and play materials for use in homes, along with support for parents, including M&E guidance and tools.
  2. Guidance on Production of Reading Books to improve efficiency and bring down costs across the book supply chain as well as to identify opportunities to use innovative approaches to procurement.
  3. Guidance Note: Using the Bidding Document for Books to support Bank and country teams through the book procurement process. Additional guidance on copyright, contracting, open licensing, technical specifications, and Incoterms is also being prepared to facilitate book procurement.
  4. Case Study: 10 Success Factors in the Procurement of Teaching and Learning Materials as a case study of measures used in Mozambique to reduce the costs of textbooks and teacher’s guides over time. Sets out ten replicable success factors which can be used by other countries.
  5. Designing Book Distribution Systems is developing proposed designs for improved systems for monitoring book delivery in World Bank client countries, with specific proposals for Cameroon, El Salvador, Niger, Senegal, and Sudan.

Ten countries have participated in the first-wave of Read@Home: Cameroon, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya,  Niger, North Macedonia, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), and Senegal.

The Read@Home team is working with partners at country and global levels, including the Global Book Alliance, USAID, UNICEF and various NGOs. The program is supported by funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), The REACH Trust Fund, the Early Learning Partnership, and country project grants.