Geetha Murali, CEO Room to Read
Room to Read
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Why did you create this innovation?
Globally, nearly 800 million people are illiterate, two thirds of which are women and girls. Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education and make positive change. Since our start in Nepal 22 years ago, we have expanded to work in 21 countries around the globe, operating at the nexus of school and community-level implementation and education systems.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on systemic education transformation during the two most vulnerable time periods in a child's education: acquiring literacy skills in primary school and reducing dropout among girls in secondary school.
Our Literacy Program trains and coaches teachers, creates and publishes quality books and curricular materials, and establishes libraries filled with diverse children’s books in local languages that can be enjoyed at school or home. Our seven-year Girls’ Education Program builds girls' skills to succeed in secondary school and make key life decisions by providing life skills curriculum, mentorship and peer support, and family and community engagement.
Our programs have sustainable impact. By the end of Grade 2, students tested in primary schools read twice as fast as their peers on average and, in some countries, nearly three times as fast. Our RCT in India found that adolescent girls in our program were 25% less likely to drop out of school.
How has it been spreading?
Working at scale, Room to Read has benefited more than 32 million children and has worked in more than 49,000 communities and 21 countries. We plan to benefit 40 million children by 2025 through our gradual release approach to systems change in three incremental phases: Demonstration, Partnership and Expansion. Our work in schools is spread exponentially via remote learning solutions such as remote mentoring, virtual training, TV and radio broadcasts. In 2020, Room to Read reached 123 million households in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka via TV, and 58 million households in India and Nepal via radio. Room to Read was selected by the Center for Global Development's Learning@Scale study, which recognized our Literacy Program as one of eight programs globally that are "effective at scale."
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Room to Read is working at the intersection of education and world’s great challenges. A partnership with Room to Read can blend your organization’s goals with our programmatic objectives. In order for us to begin a conversation, please contact us at https://www.roomtoread.org/partner-with-us/.