June 11, 2012
RTI International Working to Improve Early Grade Reading, HIV/AIDS Prevention in Uganda
- RTI named primary implementing partner for the Uganda Literacy and Health Education Program
- The program will improve readings skills for Ugandan primary students and support national HIV/AIDS prevention efforts
- RTI will partner with World Education, SIL Lead and the Centre for Social Research (Uganda)
- Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe
- Kami Spangenberg
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As part of efforts to improve early grade reading and transition to English for primary students in Uganda, and to strengthen HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs in that country, RTI International has been awarded a cooperative agreement to serve as the primary implementing partner for the Uganda Literacy and Health Education Program. Partner organizations include World Education, SIL Lead and the Centre for Social Research (Uganda).
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project will support the Ministry of Education and Sports to improve the reading skills of 3.5 million Ugandan primary students and help develop sustainable health education systems that support national HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.
Building on the previous work of the USAID UNITY project, the project will continue to support national systems for teacher training and to strengthen ties with districts and communities. The project will work with the Government of Uganda to establish sustainable mechanisms, processes, and capacity to implement effective HIV/AIDS education at both the primary and post-primary levels.
"When children are able to read at their age appropriate level, it helps them to comprehend more. The more children comprehend, the faster they are able to read, and so the process continues. Our aim, therefore, is to enable and maximize children's abilities and opportunities to read—the rest will follow," said Saeeda Prew, RTI's project director. "Working with and through government structures, we will develop sustainable programs that bring together essential support elements to make schools the center of learning, care and support."
Targeting up to 15 districts with a focus on areas that best suit the project's dual objectives of improving early grade reading and strengthening HIV/AIDS education and prevention efforts, the project will engage district leaders in implementing and scaling up rigorous, evidence-based efforts.
In the area of early grade reading and literacy, the project will support the Ministry of Education and Sports to strengthen policies, strategic planning, curriculum development, student assessment and teacher training and support. This will be done in collaboration with language boards and the private sector, as well as district, community, and school level stakeholders.
To address the goal of improving HIV/AIDS education, a national system-strengthening and district-level leadership approach will be used to create sustainable systems for HIV/AIDS prevention throughout the education sector and to deepen the impact of HIV/AIDS and health education in target districts. The project will work with target districts to support cross-sector coordination and maximize the impact of HIV/AIDS and health education at the school level.
"This project is an exciting opportunity to work with USAID and the Government of Uganda to improve academic achievement and health outcomes for millions of Ugandan children and teachers," said Sharon Loza, RTI's home office technical manager for the project, "By working through national systems and district level leadership and structures, the project will contribute to the USAID education goal to improve the reading skills of 100 million students in primary grades by 2015, and to the U.S. goal of preventing 12 million new HIV infections worldwide."
The project will build on research conducted by RTI under a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation on the status of reading achievement in Uganda.