USAID Launches New Early Grade Reading Project in Haiti

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
USAID Press Office

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Tuesday October 16, 2012 The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), today launched a project to promote early grade reading in Haiti. The initiative, Tout Timoun Ap Li (TOTAL), which means “All Children Reading,” will support the Government of Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) efforts to increase the number of young children reading.

The TOTAL project is in response to USAID’s worldwide Education Strategy, which calls for 100 million children to be reading by 2015.  TOTAL will benefit more than 28,000 Haitian children in grades 1-3 by developing materials and curricula that allow them to more easily learn how to read. This program will incorporate evidence-based curricula into 300 schools in Haiti and will meet international standards for best practice literacy instruction.

The materials will be relevant to Haiti’s culture and will respond to children’s educational needs. TOTAL will also train more than 900 teachers to provide quality reading instruction and incorporate the community to help and support reading. Under the leadership of MENFP, USAID is supporting coordination of education activities among donors and key stakeholders to contribute to a national movement to achieve our shared goal.    

Surveys indicate that approximately 35 percent of Haitian youth are illiterate, and that the average Haitian child spends less than four years in school. Education is critical to broad-based economic growth, is required for healthy democratic practices, and enables people to make smarter choices affecting health and household welfare. Reading serves as the foundation for learning. Children who do not learn to read at an early age will more likely make limited educational progress throughout their lives. As Loretta Garden, the USAID Haiti Education Office Chief, emphasized in her speech: “Reading should not be a privilege but a right for every child. USAID and all its partners are responsible to develop innovative materials as well as effective methodology, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. We must also train the teachers who are the light leading our children to a brighter future.”

Under Haitian President Michel Martelly, the MENFP is focusing on universal education – providing opportunities to learn for all Haitian children. The U.S. Government looks forward to continued collaboration throughout this school year, which has been named the “Year of Reading” by the Ministry of Education.

USAID’s education program also includes additional literacy initiatives in Haiti. “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development,” a worldwide initiative involving USAID, World Vision and AusAID, recently announced winning innovations in its grants competition. Two of the 32 finalists will implement projects in Haiti, including the USAID-supported L’EcoleSupérieure d'Infotronique d'Haïti This project will support primary school teachers to produce digital reading content in Creole and enhance the use of interactive whiteboards.   

Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the American people have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov. For more information about USAID’s early grade reading programs, please visit:  http://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/education/improving-early-grade-reading

Last updated: February 06, 2014

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