The Latest

Setting the course for 2023: Room to Read's 2022 Country Management Conference

February 16, 2023

Community South Africa

It’s been over two years since Room to Read’s global leadership team sat at a table, visited a school or collaborated face-to-face on the important work that lies ahead for the education sector. But this past November, that finally changed. Room to Read’s global leadership team gathered in South Africa for their first in-person management conference since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team spent several days together, brainstorming and workshopping plans for 2023. They even had the opportunity to visit a local primary school and see Room to Read South Africa’s Literacy Program in action. Read on to see some moments from the conference! 

Our country directors, who collectively oversee Room to Read’s programs in nine different countries, were thrilled to finally reconnect in-person. 

Leaders engaged in lively discussions about Room to Read's organizational priorities, integrating Room to Read’s programs into national education systems, our partnerships with local governments, publishers and educators that will help to further scale our Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs, and leadership development. Guest speakers from across the organization also joined virtually to present on a variety of topics.

School staff at a local primary school welcomed our leadership team. They gave our team a tour of the school and brought them to Grade 1 and Grade 2 classrooms, where they had the opportunity to observe students engaging in literacy development activities. They were also joined by principals from surrounding schools as well as district officials, who praised Room to Read for the positive effect the Literacy Program has had on education across the region.

CEO Geetha Murali joined a reading lesson with a Grade 1 class. Students worked on exercises in their Sepedi language workbooks, a resource that was developed by Room to Read’s Literacy Program team. 

One student gave our leadership team a tour of their school library. It was colorful, welcoming and most importantly furnished with hundreds of local language books with well leafed-through pages! It was very clearly the favorite space of the students who take good care of it alongside the librarians who explained that the space is the heart of the school.

A small group of students joined Room to Read CEO Geetha Murali for a library focus group, where they had some time to chat about their future goals and dreams. Geetha then asked one student to pick out their favorite book, “Curious Pearl Dives into Weather,” and hosted an impromptu read aloud, passing the book around so everyone could take turns reading.

Our executive leadership team was all smiles after the school visit.


Our leadership team concluded the trip feeling excited about our work in 2023. Room to Read’s staff remain committed to providing students with the quality education they deserve by continuing to partner with local governments, public school systems and local NGOs to reach children where they are, whether in classrooms or learning from home. With 250 million children not learning around the world and 130 million girls out of school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much work to be done and we will not stop until every child has access to a quality education. 

Learn more about Room to Read's strategic plan.