Pratham and other organizations selected for $80 million Africa project grant

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Pratham non-profit among one of the largest in India, which is supported by Pratham USA, works on education intervention. (Photo: Pratham.org)

Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa, a joint venture between Pratham and MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), has been named one of five recipients of an $80 million commitment from the global philanthropic collaborative Co-Impact.

Selected from a pool of more than 250 projects, the grant was awarded to change-makers with proven strategies in education, health and economic opportunity, a press release from Pratham USA said.

Despite progress worldwide in school enrollment, millions of children are not acquiring basic foundational skills. Pratham says its TaRL methodology significantly raises children’s basic learning levels in a short period of time, using a simple tool to assess children’s ability to read and do arithmetic, grouping them by level rather than grade and advancing them to the next learning group as they progress and continue to grow.

“Six randomized control trials conducted in India by J-PAL-affiliated researchers over the past two decades have shown that the approach, whether delivered by Pratham staff or trained teachers in government-run schools, has led to some of the largest, most cost-effective learning gains of any primary education program evaluated,” Pratham claimed in the press release.

Dr. Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham, in a statement, said the method has ” millions of children to read and to do basic math in India.”

“Together with J-PAL, we are excited to have the opportunity to work in Africa with many partners,” Banerji added.

The multi-year grant from Co-Impact will support Pratham and J-PAL in building the capacity of governments and other partners in multiple countries across Africa, including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Zambia, to design and scale TaRL-like approaches that will help three million primary school children learn to read and do basic arithmetic, the organization said.

Pratham USA Chairman Deepak Raj, described the large grant as  ” true validation” of Pratham’s efforts in pioneering innovative, cost-effective learning solutions. “While our focus remains on addressing India’s education crisis, we are proud to see Pratham’s

Iqbal Dhaliwal, executive director of J-PAL, said the grant represents the critical importance of using evidence from rigorous impact evaluations to drive decision-making.

“Our partnership with Pratham is based on innovation, learning, and a unifying vision—shared with Co-Impact—of creating systems-level change,” Dhaliwal is quoted saying, adding, “We have a lot of work ahead of us and are putting together an outstanding team to lead and execute this exciting initiative.”

Co-Impact, the global philanthropic collaborative formed in 2017 by Olivia Leland with commitments from Richard Chandler, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jeff Skoll, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Rohini and Nandan Nilekani, describes its goal of driving social change through investment in proven solutions that are ready to be scaled even further.

Set up 25 years ago, Pratham is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in India. It facilitates India’s well-known Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) exercise, and for the past two decades and more, has focused on high-quality, low-cost learning improvement interventions in schools and communities around the country. Pratham USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a consistent four-star rating from Charity Navigator that seeks to raise awareness and mobilize financial resources for its work in India.

 

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