Advancing the Right to Read - Signature Programme Overview

Save the Children Rwanda’s Education Signature Programme aims to reverse the global crisis in learning by providing, in Rwanda, a continuum of services for children aged 0-9, focused on supporting learning outcomes and early grade literacy that ensures all children leave school able to read.

Using the latest evidence of what works best when trying to help children learn to read and write, together with innovative approaches to community action and the literate environment, Save the Children will:

1. Close the gap in early childhood care and education services before school.
2. Improve the teaching of reading in school.
3. Develop a culture of literacy and learning out of school.
4. Increase children’s access to high quality, local language reading materials.

We will generate evidence that proves that our approach delivers the intended results; is possible at scale; represents good value for money; and can be implemented by governments and communities.  We will also prove, through an independent randomized control trial, conducted by Stanford University, the benefits of out of school reading promotion and support for literacy acquisition.  We will use that evidence to generate a policy consensus and to mobilize supportive actors, in order to undertake direct policy influencing in Rwanda and internationally, with the overall goal of achieving systemic change in how reading is taught, as well as supported outside of school, and to ensure that children have the reading material to acquire, and then use, their new literacy skills.

Change for children in Rwanda

  • 140,000 children will have new skills, and support and materials to use them.
  • 1,800 teachers will have new skills, knowledge and confidence.
  • 92,000 parents will have improved skills and knowledge, and support to use them.
  • 50 new children’s books will be created in the local language Kinyarwanda, and the local book chains' capacity will be improved.


Systemic change in Rwanda and globally

We will show that reversing the learning crisis through Save the Children's four pillars:

  • Will deliver results.
  • Is possible at scale.
  • Is cost effective.
  • Can be implemented by governments and communities.


Policy change



  • Pre and In-service teacher training policy and practice will improve.
  • We will advocate for policy and funding for out of school action in support of learning and literacy.
  • We will advocate for policy and funding that supports high quality, local language, children’s literature.



  • Policy and financial investment will support out of school action for learning and literacy.
  • Policy and financial investment will support increased availability of, and access to, high quality, local language children’s literature.


Proving it!

We want to use the signature programme to prove impact, by demonstrating:

  • The gains that derive from a continuum of activities for children aged 0-9.
  • The added benefits for literacy acquisition and retention of community action.

To do so, we have designed a randomized control trial, which will be independently conducted and implemented by Stanford University.



The cost of the signature programme is:

  • £12 million over five years.
  • £11 million of this has been secured.


Strategic alignment

The proposal was developed with the assistance of Save the Children US.  It will be a direct contribution to Save the Children International’s literacy focused breakthrough, and has the support of the Education Global Initiative.


A world of opportunity

Growing international interest in, and recognition of the problem of poor literacy, together with the emergence of early grade reading and literacy as priority issues in Rwanda, combine to create a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate that our innovative approach works, and to influence policy and practice nationally and internationally with those findings, thus making a significant contribution to resolving the global crisis in learning.


The Projects

The Education Signature Programme in Rwanda consists of four projects: First Read, Early Literacy and Maths Initiative (ELMI), Literacy Boost and Rwandan Children’s Book Initiative (RCBI). Please click on and the links below for information on these different education projects.