Library of Congress Announces Winners of 2022 Literacy Awards on International Literacy Day
Recipients Include Street Child, Make Way for Books and Young African Refugees for Integral Development
Three organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading will be awarded the 2022 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today. Top prizes are being awarded to Street Child, Make Way for Books and Young African Refugees for Integral Development.
The Literacy Awards Program, originated by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein in 2013, honors organizations that provide exemplary, innovative and replicable strategies to combat illiteracy. For 10 years, the Library of Congress has recognized the urgent need to achieve universal literacy through the Literacy Awards Program.
"Literacy means you can absorb information yourself and make your own decision, and that is freedom,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations in their efforts to advance literacy across the globe.”
Prizes and Recipients
2022 David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): Street Child, London, United Kingdom (operating internationally in Africa and Asia)
Founded in 2008, Street Child is a UK-based international charity currently operating in 20 of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Its programs have meaningfully transformed educational opportunities for over half a million children, often through the help of local partnerships and within the context of post-emergency response. Street Child uses evidence-based pedagogical methods while keeping costs low. The organization believes that all children should be in school, safe and learning.
Street Child works closely with its partners to bring literacy to the forefront of governmental and community discussions. They have established over 400 local Girls’ Assemblies that advocate for increased attention and accountability for girls’ education in Nepal. The Girls’ Assemblies are part of a larger network that includes representatives from local communities, school committees, child welfare councils and municipal leaders, demonstrating Street Child’s ongoing commitment to addressing gender discrimination and disparities in education. Incorporating local feedback into the design of their programs helps Street Child ensure community buy-in, therefore improving their sustainability. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Street Child pivoted to a distance teaching and learning curriculum through a low-cost combination of phone help, audio-assisted sessions, and self-learning print packs, increasing the program’s longer-term replicability. Independent control trials have confirmed that Street Child’s efforts resulted in measurable literacy and numeracy gains in its program participants.
2022 American Prize ($50,000): Make Way for Books, Tucson, Arizona
Established in 1998, Make Way for Books provides early literacy programming to young children and their families who may not otherwise have access to books or quality early education. Make Way for Books provides a two-generation approach that builds skills in both young children (ages birth to 5 years) and their caregivers. The program is well-established, highly regarded and growing. It serves 25 school districts and close to 18,000 young children in southern and central Arizona.
Make Way for Books is bilingual in content, culturally sensitive in methodology and representatively diverse in staffing. The organization uses externally-validated evaluation tools to demonstrate effectiveness. It is sustained by a strong, predictable budget and supported by local, state and national foundations, founders and donors.
2022 International Prize ($50,000): Young African Refugees for Integral Development, Kampala, Uganda
Founded in 2007, Young African Refugees for Integral Development is an educational nonprofit based in Kampala, Uganda. The organization is unique in that it was established by young Congolese refugees who formed connections with fellow local refugees through hosting football games. Using sports as an initial and strategic unifier, the participating refugees soon realized they needed a common language in order to communicate with one another on the field; as a result, the organization began offering English literacy classes. This intitiative subsequently encouraged participants to seek and gain employment opportunities.
Young African Refugees for Integral Development’s literacy model follows a phased approach to learning English; classes begin with six weeks of instruction in the students’ mother tongue, which is then followed by six weeks of classes taught in both the mother tongue and English. Finally, three months of instruction are administered solely in English. The organization’s target audience grew from 30 young refugees in its first year to now nearly 5,000 learners. With financial support from respected foundations, Young African Refugees for Integral Development is poised to partner with the government of Uganda to scale up and expand their work within the country.
2022 Successful Practices Honorees ($5,000)
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is honoring 12 additional organizations for their implementation of highly successful practices in literacy promotion. These honorees, recipients of $5,000 each, are:
- Concern Worldwide, Niamey, Niger
- DIBS for Kids, Omaha, Nebraska
- Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring Project, Milton, Vermont (operating in the Dominican Republic)
- Impact Network International, Brooklyn, New York (operating in Zambia)
- International Literacy and Development, Duncanville, Texas
- Kids Read Now, Troy, Ohio
- Literacy Achieves, Dallas, Texas
- Literacy Action, Atlanta, Georgia
- Literacy Network, Madison, Wisconsin
- ReadWorks, Brooklyn, New York
- ServeMinnesota (Reading Corps), Minneapolis, Minnesota
- World Education, Boston, Massachusetts (operating in the United States, Africa and Asia)
Over the past decade, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to over 150 institutions working in 38 countries.
Additional information on the awards and previous winners, as well as an interactive program map, are available at https://www.loc.gov/programs/library-of-congress-literacy-awards.
David M. Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council.
The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of "international days" to mark important aspects of human life and history, including International Literacy Day on Sept. 8. For more information on International Literacy Day, visit: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday.
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