U.S. and UK Award US$64m to Support MERIT

U.S. and UK Award US$64m to Support Malawi Early Grade Reading Improvement Activity (MERIT)

LILONGWE, OCTOBER 6, 2015:  With more than half of Malawi’s population being below the age of 18, education is key to the country’s growth and prosperity.  The American and UK Governments, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) respectively, announce the launch of the $64 million (MK35.8 billion) Malawi Early Grade Reading Improvement Activity (MERIT) for 2015-2020.

MERIT supports Government of Malawi efforts to improve the reading skills of all learners in Standards 1- 4 in all public primary schools.  RTI International will implement MERIT in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), and in partnership with stakeholders at national, district, and school levels.  MERIT will be implemented from September 29, 2015 to September 28, 2020.

MERIT is designed to provide technical assistance to the MoEST to improve the reading performance of Malawian learners through improved reading instruction, greater parental and community engagement in providing after-school reading support to students, providing a safer environment for students to practice reading, and ensuring that reading interventions are integrated with activities in the education sector and across sectors, and that these are sustained.

The United States and UK have both been long-term supporters of the Education Sector in Malawi. The US has supported Malawi’s education sector since independence in collaboration with MoEST, increasing access to education, particularly for girls, and building capacity in the education sector.

Both the United States and the UK are committed to supporting the Government of Malawi in its efforts to advance learning achievements in the education sector, through improvements in the reading skills of learners enrolled in the early grades of primary education.

In this partnership, USAID has contributed $57.2 million (about MK32 billion), with DFID adding a further $6.8million (about MK 3.8 billion) through delegated co-operation.

USAID/Malawi Acting Mission Director Peter Trenchard noted: “Reading creates the foundation for lifelong learning and social and economic development for Malawi.”

For more information, please contact the undersigned.

Oris Chimenya, United States Agency for International Development, on 0994-962-986 or ochimenya@usaid.gov