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Room to Read Pledges To Enhance Education For Nearly One Million Girls In The Developing World

September 21, 2010

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Room to Read today announced at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2010 Annual Meeting its pledge to enhance education for nearly one million girls in the developing world by 2012. Room to Read’s Founder and Board Chair, John Wood, took the stage alongside former President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Barclays Capital PLC President Robert E. Diamond and Goldman Sachs Vice President Noa Meyer, to formally announce the organization’s plans to equalize access to education for girls in some of the world’s most underserved communities.

The pronouncement comes on the heels of Room to Read’s fulfilment of its 2007 CGI promise to double its program impact to 10,000th libraries reaching 5 million children by 2010. In addition to successfully meeting that target, Room to Read developed a new strategic vision to determine how to best enable the next five million children – 50 percent of whom are estimated to be female – to pursue a quality education and reach their full potential. 

Beginning in 2011, Room to Read will build on its first decade of success by enhancing literacy skills, encouraging the habit of reading and promoting gender equality in education for millions of children in the nine countries in Asia and Africa where it operates. Specifically, in the next two years the organization will establish an additional 4,000 libraries; provide teacher training on library management and reading skills; improve existing classroom and school infrastructures; pilot literacy initiatives among primary school children; and publish over 250 new local language children’s books so that nearly one million girls (and boys) have the enhanced resources and skills needed to build and sustain a habit of reading.

Room to Read will also deepen the impact of its work with girls through the Girls’ Education program – a community-based approach to provide girls in the developing world with the academic support and life skills needed to complete secondary school. Worldwide, girls make up a disproportionately low number of students enrolled in and completing secondary school; yet, research has proven that when girls learn, their families, communities, and societies all benefit. By the end of 2012, Room to Read aims to have nearly 17,000 girls enrolled in its Girls’ Education program – all receiving scholarship support and relevant life skills training that will empower them for years to come.

“We are thrilled to once again be a part of the massive social change being pledged at CGI. Our latest commitment to what I call 'action-oriented optimism' means we will continue to help close the gender gap in global education by providing nearly one million girls with a solid foundation for learning,” said John Wood, Room to Read Founder and Board Chair. "We all know that without education for girls, there is less hope for social progress.  But without literacy and the habit of reading from a young age, girls will never have a complete education. Our commitment will result in future generations of educated young women in the developing world making informed life decisions. It’s a no brainer investment.”

To fuel this growth and achieve its goal of reaching 10 million children by 2015, Room to Read will build upon existing funding relationships with corporate and government partners – including Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, the U.S. State Department and CLSA Asia Pacific.

Room to Read’s commitment can be seen on the CGI website.