On June 25, 2021, the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, and the Acting USAID Mission Director in Rwanda presided over a ceremony to celebrate the success of the USAID Mureke Dusome activity to support children to learn to read.
Since 2016, USAID has been partnering with the Government of Rwanda to strengthen family and community support for children’s learning, and promote a culture of reading through the USAID Mureke Dusome activity. The activity is implemented by Save the Children Rwanda, alongside local organizations, Umuhuza, Uwezo Youth Empowerment, Urunana DC, and RWAMREC.
With support from USAID Mureke Dusome, 900,000 children have participated in reading activities in their communities. In 2020, this number included 3,600 children with disabilities. 2500 children’s reading clubs have been established in communities in all 30 districts. Reading clubs are opportunities for children to practice and enjoy reading storybooks outside of school. The reading clubs have been supplied with 430,000 locally produced Kinyarwanda storybooks and 135,890 copies of Karame children’s magazine.
USAID Mureke Dusome also empowered 4.5 million parents and caregivers with information about how they could support their children’s learning. Before the activity, 51 percent of parents believed that schools are entirely responsible for teaching their children how to read. In reality, families can talk, sing, and read books with their children, and this engagement supports children to learn to read. Today 72 percent of parents understand this, and are supporting children at home. As more children practice reading, their performance in school is improving.
During the ceremony, the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Honorable Gaspard Twagirayezu said, “We appreciate the ongoing contributions of the United States to support all children to read. We encourage every community to sustain reading clubs so that children continue to have opportunities to practice reading outside of school. We also encourage every parent to talk and read with their children.”
The Acting Mission Director for USAID/Rwanda, William Hansen, recognized the strong partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Government of the United States to ensure that children master foundational reading skills. “Literacy is foundational for success in school. USAID is looking forward to continued partnership with the Government of Rwanda to sustain literacy promotion and improved learning.”