A Grand Challenge for Development

Whether it’s the instructions on your bottle of shampoo or a funny Facebook status update, most of us don’t give our ability to read a second thought. What many of us forget is that literacy is at the foundation of our country’s well being. In a blog post during International Education Week in November, Secretary Duncan noted that “literacy opens doors to better living conditions, improved health, and expanded opportunities. It empowers people to build more secure futures for their families.”

Duncan’s blog post announced an exciting initiative called the All Children Reading Grand Challenge for Development. The Grand Challenge is a global competition to find innovative solutions to advance children’s reading, particularly in low and lower-middle income countries.

Through the Grand Challenge, USAID, AusAid and WorldVision are mobilizing resources to gather new ideas, engage new organizations and people, and advance innovative solutions from around the world.

USAID and its partners are looking for innovative applications from eligible institutions to support the Grand Challenge. Click here to read more about the competition and how your innovation could be eligible for the  $7.5 million in grant money available under the challenge.


  1. Literacy is the most important thing we can teach our children. The foundation has to be set at an early age. Our kids need to be taught how to learn and understand things at the infant stage and beyond. If parents are not holding up their end of the bargain we will fail to help nurture a child to their full potential. Teachers are incredible people, but if there is a discrepancy between learning at home and learning at school then a child will not reach their full potential.

    Where do we need the help? Parents? Teachers? Social Norms? Media?
    All of these I have listed are where we need to start helping the youth of the world to be literate.

  2. I think the government should be focusing on OUR education system first. If you want to insure that the life of this country is secure, then more time and energy should be devoted towards improving our education system. Stop trying to “pass” every student through No Child Left Behind and actually try to teach them. Intelligence is not shown through tests.

  3. So what do you do when the local public school does not teach your 15.5 y/o child to read, and refuses to pursue methodologies that could be effective? Recourse under IDEA is time consuming and expensive and at the end of the day does not cause a school to change its practices.

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