For Immediate Release
Busan, Korea – Today at the 95th annual Lions Clubs International Convention in Busan, South Korea, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Lions Clubs International (LCI) launched a new partnership aimed at promoting literacy around the world. This partnership will:
- Mobilize Lions Club members to read to primary school children and to raise awareness about the critical nature of improving early grade reading;
- Recognize teacher excellence in promoting early grade reading through awards for schools, teachers, students and communities and other incentives;
- Promote reading among young children with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired; and
- Assist USAID in reaching its target of improving the literacy of 100 million children in developing nations by 2015.
Eric G. Postel, USAID assistant administrator for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, and Wayne A. Madden, the 2012-13 International President of Lions Clubs International, signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting a framework for joint activities at the final plenary session attended by more than 20,000 Lions members from around the world.
“USAID and Lions Clubs International share the belief that literacy is critical to the future of all children, and that literate children contribute to their society’s stability, economy, health and growth. This partnership is a critical way to leverage both organizations resources to this ambitious goal,” said Mr. Postel.
USAID’s Education Strategy is based on the premise that education is foundational to human development and critical to broad-based economic growth and poverty reduction. A key goal of this strategy is to improve reading for children in primary grades. Since early grade reading competency is essential to success in later grades, children who do not learn to read at an early age will likely make limited educational progress throughout their lives. They will have limited economic and developmental opportunities as a result.
Founded in 1917, Lions Clubs International has 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members, making it the world's largest service club organization. LCI includes active men and women volunteers (“Lions”) in more than 200 countries and geographic areas. Lions are best known for fighting blindness but also volunteer for many different kinds of community projects and often support local children and schools through scholarships, recreation and mentoring.
“The ability to contribute to global literacy while continuing to support those with vision and other impairments helps bring a quality of life and future earning potential to many that is life-changing,” said LCI’s Madden.
For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov.
For more information about Lions Clubs International, please visit www.lionsclubs.org.
Last updated: September 17, 2014