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Although there have been major strides in education enrollment over the past 15 years, 250 million children of primary school age are still unable to recognize basic letters and numbers. Worryingly, 130
million of these children attend 4 years or more of school and still leave without basic foundational skills. Evidence supports the role of books in improving learning and reading acquisition, yet many children lack access to both reading books and textbooks. Over the past few decades, donors, including bilateral organizations and private foundations, have provided millions of dollars in funding and programmatic support to improve book provision and usage. Despite this extensive support, there continues to be an underfinancing of books, and the problem persists. Traditional approaches are not working. We need a transformative international mechanism to mobilize funding, raise awareness, and tackle issues across the book chain. Results for Development (R4D) and International Education Partners Ltd. (IEP) were contracted to analyze the feasibility and design of this proposed mechanism, referred to as the Global Book Fund. Following the finalization of our study in April 2016, the Global Book Fund was renamed The Global Book Alliance: Books for Every Child.
The proposed Global Book Alliance will be a transformative international mechanism to mobilize funding, raise awareness, and improve the provision and use of both textbooks and reading books. Its key activities will include:
It is proposed that country eligibility to apply for technical assistance be quite broad and include all low and middle income countries. Most of the GBA’s financial support would be channeled to low income and lower middle income countries, and support for upper middle income countries could be time limited with co‐financing requirements. It is also suggested that the GBA be hosted by an existing organization, so ensuring cost efficiencies and greater integration of its activities with complementary investments in the education sector.
Our analysis was informed by data collection in 13 countries and global stakeholder consultations, drawing on relevant experiences from funds in health and other sectors as well as lessons from reading programs, commodity procurement, and provision of books. A selection of our 16 findings is presented below:
The Results for Development Institute (R4D) and International Education Partners Ltd. (IEP) partnership led the feasibility study and analysis. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the Global Reading Network (GRN).
For more information on our work and the next phase of the analysis, please contact Shubha Jayaram at