The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday held a launch event at Groupe Scolaire Kinyinya to highlight the U.S. government’s Early Grade Reading Project, which aims to improve the Kinyarwanda reading skills of one million children over the next four years.
The Early Grade Reading Project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Rwanda Education Board consisting of three activities that are valued at over Rwf 68 billion.
The U.S. government’s partnership to support Kinyarwanda literacy is built upon evidence that literacy in the first language that students speak and understand is foundational for their success in school. The Early Grade Reading Project’s three complementary activities are:
●The MurekeDusome (“Let’s Read”) activity engages parents, communities, and literacy champions to help children embrace a culture of reading outside of school. MurekeDusome is implemented by Save the Children, in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board.
●The Soma Umenye(“Read and Know”) activity will train teachers and provide extra reading materials to schools. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Rwanda Education Board and advocate for policies that support reading.
●The Teacher Mentorship Community of Practice program, implemented by FHI 360, has developed an online platform for teachers to access teaching materials and forums, and to take teaching certification courses online.
U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica J. Barks-Ruggles highlighted the importance of collaboration with the Ministry of Education. “Our partnership with the government of Rwanda is key to achieving this literacy goal and the goals of Rwanda’s Vision 2020. We are working with the Rwandan government to find Rwandan solutions for improving children’s reading ability,” she said.
Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, offered closing remarks at the launch event. “By ensuring that all children have a strong foundation in reading, Rwanda will develop the full talents of its workforce. Rwanda will continue to succeed and its economy will continue to grow,” he remarked.
At the event, the U.S. Ambassador and Minister of Education worked with parents from Gicumbi district to create home-made reading materials for children, and witnessed a P2 teacher apply participatory techniques to teach Kinyarwanda reading to her students. Urunana Development Communications performed a live skit highlighting the importance of Kinyarwanda literacy.