October 07, 2020
Room to Read and Warburg Pincus Partner on Transformational Commitment to Girls’ Education in India
Mumbai – October 7, 2020 – Room to Read, a global organization creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality, today announced a unique partnership with Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, that will reach over 500,000 girls across Telangana, India and enact system level gender equality initiatives through its Girls’ Education Program. The partnership, which will span through December 2021, includes:
Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus, India commented on the partnership:
“The COVID-19 crisis has greatly impacted educational institutions across India. The economically disadvantaged sections of society, and girls in particular, have seen their education interrupted during this period as a result of the digital divide. Room to Read’s proven program design and implementation strength across India coupled with capital and a lasting commitment from Warburg Pincus will ensure sustainable change for families, communities and society.”
Room to Read’s girls’ education and gender equality portfolio ensures that girls build the skills to succeed in school and make key life decisions. Room to Read prepares girls to make positive change by providing life skills sessions, opportunities for mentorship and peer support, and family and community engagement. The organization goes further by supporting young people to build knowledge and skills with which they can create a gender equal world. Room to Read also helps governments deliver similar programs through their own education systems.
Extreme economic hardship and gender disparities in low-income communities in India can result in girls not completing secondary school. Room to Read notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a heightened risk to girls’ education, compounding other risks such as early marriage, gender-based violence, pressure to earn income or serve as caregivers, and child trafficking. The organization is working to make sure that it can identify these risks to girls early so they can support their return to education.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect students across the globe, India is among the worst hit countries with 321 million children displaced from school, widening learning gaps and exposing them to acute risks. In India, Room to Read staff have already reported girls who will not return to school because of child marriage and financial hardships faced by their families– this puts to risk decades of good work done by government and civil society organizations to improve gender equality and girl’s participation in schooling.
A recent survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic among Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program participants using a set of Girls’ Education Risk Indicators has found over half of girls surveyed in India are at risk of education discontinuity The survey has collected real-time risk data on 10,132 girls across six states using three quantitative indicators for identifying risk of not returning to school. The risk indicators are girls not maintaining their studies at home while schools are closed, a loss of job or income in their household and a girl’s stated concern that they will not be able to return to school.
Sourav Banerjee, Country Director of Room to Read in India, explained the importance of investing in gender equality programming:
“While we have seen increased threats to girls during COVID-19, our teams are reaching out to these girls through various online and offline means to keep them motivated and help them exercise life skills such as perseverance and resilience. Additionally, through campaigns and advocacy, we are focused on building awareness among parents and government officials on the importance of girl’s education. The commitment and inspired partnership of Warburg Pincus will ensure meaningful and lasting impact for young women during COVID-19 and for years to come in India and beyond.”
About Room to Read
Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. We are achieving this goal by helping children in low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls to build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and other partner organizations to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. Room to Read has benefitted more than 18 million children across 16 countries and 39,000 communities and aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Room to Read has benefited 4.3 million children in India through their education programs, including over 34,000 participants of their pioneering Girls’ Education Program. Learn more at www.roomtoread.org.
About Warburg Pincus
Warburg Pincus LLC is a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The firm has more than $53 billion in private equity assets under management. The firm’s active portfolio of more than 185 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector, and geography. Warburg Pincus is an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 19 private equity funds, which have invested more than $84 billion in over 900 companies in more than 40 countries. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Mauritius, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Singapore. For more information please visit www.warburgpincus.com.