Two smiling schoolboys in Zambia sitting in front of bookshelves

Chemonics News

News: USAID and Chemonics Partner to Support Basic Education in East Africa

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Through the READ IDIQ, Chemonics aims to improve student learning outcomes in basic education and expand access to education for all, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Chemonics, with a diverse consortium of partners, is proud to be one of five large-business implementing partners awarded as a holder of USAID’s Reading for East Africa’s Development (READ) indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract. Through the READ IDIQ, Chemonics will provide technical assistance and services to increase access to high-quality basic education, as defined by host-country governments, and improve student learning outcomes. Task orders issued under the READ IDIQ are anticipated to support education programs in eight East African countries — Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

School closures due to the coronavirus compounded basic education challenges in East Africa and put education systems at risk of exacerbating existing achievement gaps or leaving students out of school altogether. As students and educators emerge from the pandemic, it will be essential to coalesce infection prevention and control, learning rehabilitation and student re-engagement, and psychosocial support.

Basic education programs under the READ IDIQ aim to achieve results by improving learning through evidence-based reading instruction; strengthening basic education systems for improved instruction, increased resilience, and greater sustainability; building stronger engagement, accountability, and transparency with local communities and the public; and improving access to learning opportunities for all students. Students with a strong foundation in basic education are better positioned for a lifelong trajectory of academic progress and enhanced economic opportunities. By increasing learning outcomes at the basic education level, USAID and Chemonics will contribute to the broader education and development goal of strengthening self-reliance at the individual, institutional, country, and system levels.

Chemonics brings extensive experience managing complex awards like IDIQs for USAID and other donors. Under the Advancing Basic Education All Children Reading IDIQ, we received the highest value of task order contracts of any implementing partner. Additionally, our proven record of implementing basic education programs globally — such as the USAID/Malawi Next Generation Early Grade Reading Activity, USAID/Rwanda Soma Umenye, USAID/DRC Improving Reading, Equity, and Accountability Activity 1 (ACCELERE!1), and USAID/Zambia Strengthening Educational Performance-Up project — will support successful implementation of education programming through the READ IDIQ.

Banner image caption: The USAID Strengthening Educational Performance-Up (STEP-Up) Zambia project’s research collaboration with higher education institutions helped support learner-centered policy change, resulting in practical solutions that Zambia’s schools are using to make sure their learners succeed. The photo was taken by the USAID/STEP-Up project. 

When we compare how Kinyarwanda teaching was before Soma Umenye and how it is now, we as head teachers find improvement. Teachers used to improvise but now they work closely with students to learn, especially using the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach. The school has become a friend to students and students interact well with teachers. The number of students who can read improves progressively.

A head teacher surveyed during the Soma Umenye midterm performance evaluation