A&K Philanthropy: Teaching the World to Read

A&K Philanthropy: Teaching the World to Read
February 2018

Literacy can have a huge impact on a person’s prosperity. There are over 250 million children around the world who lack basic reading and writing skills, and it’s felt particularly acutely in sub- Saharan Africa, where few children have access to even the most basic tools needed to learn to read.

Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) has teamed up with Worldreader, a not-for-profit organisation that uses a new solution to tackle this age-old problem. By utilising simple, inexpensive technology, they are getting reading materials to children in the world’s poorest communities and unlocking the potential of millions of lives.

Since it was founded seven years ago, Worldreader has reached over five million people with an extensive digital library of local language and culturally relevant e-books, available on e-reading devices and mobile phones. With programmes in 14 sub-Saharan African countries, Worldreader has distributed over three million books to 475 schools and libraries. Its carefully-curated libraries of locally-created content make it popular with students and teachers alike.

In 2016, Worldreader joined forces with Abercrombie & Kent for its first East African excursion. The tour combined a safari with an opportunity for donors to see their philanthropy in action, visiting schools and libraries in Tanzania and Kenya. As well as witnessing Worldreader’s literacy programmes first hand, donors had the chance to understand the broader context in which Worldreader fits. An example of the partnership between Worldreader and AKP is Ilboru Secondary School in Tanzania, a school for young students with special needs. AKP funded construction of the primary school and the recently completed first wing of the secondary school, and facilitated the introduction of e-readers and associated teacher training. It’s been an interesting and valuable project, one that Worldreader has been using as a case study to explore ways to run successful programmes for similar groups in the future.

In Kenya, in the isolated communities on the edge of the Masai Mara, A&K Kenya’s full-time AKP Coordinator Sarah Liaram has also been managing initiatives, bringing e-readers to a larger and more diverse section of the population.

At the Gijedabung and Mwikantsi primary schools in Tanzania’s Arusha River Valley, content about conservation is included in the e-readers. This gives readers an opportunity to hear from communities living in rural parts of the country – about their views concerning living with wildlife, and how conservation plays into their vision of the future for their children. Providing local and culturally relevant books is just one key aim of the Worldreader programme.

Their collection now features over 40,000 titles in 43 languages, from over 331 international publishers.

In just a few years, digital technology has transformed entire education systems, bringing new information and opportunities into parts of the world that have been under-resourced for decades.

Worldreader has joined individual teachers, administrators, community leaders and students at the forefront of this reading revolution.

Abercrombie & Kent Australia makes a donation to AKP on behalf of every guest travelling in support of grassroots efforts positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the places A&K guests travel.

To learn more about projects supported by AKP visit akphilanthropy.org