Spring 2021

Field Notes

Left: A teacher tests an early copy of a Big Book with his students. Below: The large pictures and words make it easy for children to read along.

m Democracy, Governance & Elections New Practice Area Creative merged two existing teams to form the Democracy, Governance and Electoral Integrity Practice Area. The move aims to address these interconnected development challenges with a holistic and integrated approach. Al Rashad + In Raqqa, Syria, Al Rashad+ supports local efforts to build a safer community by installing hundreds of street lights, rehabilitating two women’s policing centers and professionalizing police standards. It is co-funded by the U.S. State Department and the German Federal Foreign Office. Bar ama Baro The USAID Somalia Bar ama Baro program drewmore than 100,000 engagements from its virtual launch on social media. The project will support the Somali education system and offer accelerated learning to out-of-school children. Livros a Tempo The World Bank’s Livros a Tempo program drastically improved book storage in remote schools in northernMozambique. Using results-based financing, every $1 invested by the program yielded $2.27 in community investment. m Education

Big Books Make a BIG Impact Nigeria // NEI Plus

large pictures and fun story lines. In Nigeria, early grade literacy is a major pri- ority for education initiatives. If a child falls behind in the first grade, this can negatively affect their development at a critical time. The Big Books aid young students at this im- portant juncture, particularly when they begin to incorporate English into their schooling. The books teach them new words and concepts, corresponding with best practices for teaching

It’s story time, and children eagerly gather around their teacher Yohanna Zainab as she opens a “Big Book.” Each child in Zainab’s classroom at the Miri Primary School in Bauchi state in Northern Nigeria listens glued to every word and picture. “Big Books” is a new reading tool designed by USAID’s Northern Education Initiative Plus to boost children’s literacy rates in early education and to serve as a bridge between their mother tongue, Hausa, and English. In partnership with NEI Plus, the federal

government of Nigeria presented the Big Books to state governments for printing and nationwide use late last year. During the official launch on November 18, 2020, guest speaker Professor Ismael Junaidu, the Executive Secretary

The birth of the Big Books is timely… and will contribute to educational goals and positive learning outcomes in Nigeria. Books are indispensable tools in the development of a country.”

Professor Ismael Junaidu, Executive Secretary for the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council

m Political Transitions Connection

of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), said Big Books will go a long way in “ensuring the Nigerian child has access to good books.” “The birth of the Big Books is timely… and will contribute to educational goals and positive learning outcomes in Nigeria,” he said. “Books are indispensable tools in the development of a country.” The importance of early grade reading NEI Plus worked with teachers, writers, and government partners to develop 15 different stories spanning a range of genres for the Big Books. The Big Books engage children with

kids in what is often their second language. “The beautiful design and beautiful pictures… will increase the cognitive creativity of the child,” says Shuaibu Mohammad Dabo, an NEI Plus technician who tested children and teacher responses to the books. Speaking at the Big Books launch and addressing the broader context of education challenges, USAIDEducation ProgramManager Nura Ibrahim, Ph.D., said that readingmaterials like these provide neededmomentum for education reformacross Nigeria. “Our launch is ending, but our work is only just beginning,” he said. n

The new USAIDNortheast Connection programwill strengthen community cohesion and resilience to conflict and violent extremism across three Northeastern Nigerian states. The two-year project will improve capacity to respond to threats, address grievances and mitigate vulnerabilities.

Photos submitted by Adebisi Modupe Adetunji

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