APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Building on its organizational strengths, Room to Read's Literacy program will continue to build and sustain the habit of reading and create a child-friendly, literate school environment as well as build the reading skills of children. The Literacy program includes the following activities:
- Establishing multi-lingual school libraries
- Developing and sourcing enjoyable, quality books for all grade levels, with an emphasis on beginning readers
- Providing teachers with professional development to encourage reading and language activities within the school environment
- Creating a reading program, in the official language of instruction, that supplements or modifies existing classroom instruction
- Providing supplementary teaching and learning materials to support the teaching of reading
- Providing teacher development workshops on literacy acquisition
- Constructing and refurbishing primary schools and classrooms as needed
- Encouraging school and community events and activities to increase awareness about the importance of reading.
The Gender Equality in Education program will prioritize the following activities:
- Providing financial assistance as needed for school fees, uniforms, books, and stationery to ensure girls stay in secondary school longer
- Offering tutoring and academic support, as necessary
- Providing life skills activities and workshops to ensure girls have the necessary support to remain in school
- Identifying female mentors to act as positive role models and support girls through the challenges of adolescence
- Offering professional development to teachers to promote gender-sensitive teaching methods and foster a girl-friendly environment
- Delivering infrastructure support as needed, such as additional classrooms
- Fostering parent, community and government engagement, awareness, and involvement.
Across both of these themes, Room to Read will look to enhance its partnerships with governments and other NGOs to support program implementation and expansion as well as invest in research, assessment, and monitoring and evaluation to improve the design of effective programs and demonstrate results.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
In 2010, Room to Read invested a great deal of time and effort to determine how to operationalize its new direction in order to reach the next five million children, 50% of whom will be young girls based on historical actuals by 2015. As part of this, we will look to impact the lives of nearly one million girls in the next two years. In 2011, the organization will establish approximately 2,000 additional libraries, implement literacy pilots to improve reading skills of primary school children in eight of the nine countries where it works, and improve the quality of materials and infrastructure in the communities in which it works through the publication of 120+ new local language children's books and the construction and/or remodeling of over 100 schools and classrooms. The organization will also implement its new Gender Equality in Education program by rolling out a new community-based approach and adding 3,000 new girls to the program to be at over 13,000 by the end of 2011.
In 2012-2015, Room to Read would look to continue scaling up our work to reach even more girls. The organization will look to establish an additional 2,200 libraries, improve school infrastructure, publish 150 new children's books, and further design, test, and scale its literacy intervention to provide millions of girls and boys with enhanced resources and skills. Moreover, the organization will rapidly expand its Gender Equality in Education to include over 17,000 girls by 2012.
Over the past two decades, the international community has mobilized around universal education. Education is increasingly perceived to be a basic human right and key to human development. The UNESCO meetings around education, first in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and then in Dakar, Senegal in 2000, resulted in Education for All, a common vision and framework for all children to receive a quality basic education. Additionally, the Millennium Summit, held in New York in 2000, resulted in the Millennium Development Goals, a set of time-bound, measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and gender discrimination. The initial outcome of these various international commitments was an emphasis on the part of governments, international and local NGOs to increase educational enrollment, particularly in primary schools in the developing world. As a result, hundreds of millions of previously out-of-school children are now participating in formal education.
Nonetheless, rapidly expanding enrollments and scarce resources have meant that many of these children - the majority of whom are girls - especially in rural areas, still do not have access to a quality education. Moreover, although Education for All has significantly raised awareness regarding gender disparities and focused efforts on achieving gender parity or equal numbers of boys and girls are enrolling in and completing school, gender equality in education remains a significant challenge due to bias against girls in many places around the world.
To address the aforementioned issues, Room to Read has committed itself to two critical areas of educational development where it believes it can have the greatest impact: Literacy and Gender Equality in Education.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Room to Read is primarily seeking partners who can provide financial resources to help it meet the $85 million of estimated funding needed over the next two years so that it can successfully implement its commitment. Additionally, the organization is interested in media and marketing opportunities that will provide increased exposure for the Room to Read brand and its mission and vision. Secondarily, it would welcome the opportunity to discuss ways to partner with organizations in the countries where it works, though these discussions would take place at the country-specific level and depend on the specific geographic overlap of the organizations.
OFFERING: Implementing Partners, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Within the scope of the goals outlined above, Room to Read can serve as the implementing partner for organizations seeking to promote literacy and/or gender equality in the geographies where it currently works. For corporate funding partners, the organization looks to provide media exposure for significant partnership, though the inclusion in its internal media, including annual reports, newsletters, website blogs, and 400,000 followers in Twitter, as well as including its partners' names in relevant pitches to external media. Room to Read has a strong track record of getting corporate mention in the press.