USAID’s “Learn to Read Now” includes Creative Consortium

Sept. 4, 2014 – To increase the literacy of 100 million children by 2015, Creative Associates International has been selected as one of five global development organizations to support the U.S. government’s efforts to improve early grade reading programs. (

Creative was awarded the five-year “Assistance to Basic Education: All Children Reading” (ABE ACR) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, which makes it eligible to compete to implement these projects in developing countries.

“Early grade reading is one of the building blocks for future educational success,” says Charito Kruvant, Creative’s President and CEO. “It is an honor that we will be able to play a key role in developing a brighter future for children around the world.”

U.S. Agency for International Development Missions will issue “task orders” under ABE ACR, for which these pre-authorized companies may compete. Creative’s initiatives will focus on activities in four areas: teaching and learning in the classroom; national policy reform and systems strengthening; effective school management; and community engagement.

Creative has assembled a group of distinguished consortium members, including research institutes, academic universities, non-governmental organizations and small businesses, to evaluate and compete for these task orders.

The Creative consortium brings long-term relationships with a network of nearly 300 local education sector partners—government ministries, research institutions and civil society organizations—throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and the Middle East/North Africa.

Creative’s Practice Area Director for Instructional Systems and Governance, Karen Tietjen, is the IDIQ manager. With more than 30 years of experience, Ms. Tietjen provides strategic planning, leadership, and technical guidance in teacher training, operations research, M&E, education policy and systems, early grade reading, school drop-out prevention, and use of technology in education.

By coupling a school-level approach to improving reading with a national approach to reinforcing education systems, Creative will partner with governments, civil society and the private sector to improve learning outcomes and create a culture of reading where it works—sustainable gains ready to replicate and scale up.

“A focus on student learning outcomes as a measure of success will ensure that the effectiveness of Creative’s projects will be reflected not just in reading ability, but in the ability of teachers to teach well, schools to manage and assess their students and communities to support education,” Jerrold Keilson, Vice President and Senior Director of Creative’s Education Development Division.

Creative marries expertise in early grade reading, curriculum and materials development, teacher education, community outreach and inclusion with a commitment to supporting government partners and other national education officials to take the lead.

The organization has implemented large-scale education programs around the world for more than 37 years, bringing a wealth of experience improving teacher effectiveness in reading instruction, developing appropriate reading materials, engaging communities in supporting reading goals, and supporting policy development for reading.

In Yemen, for example, a community-based program used the “Yemen Early Grade Reading Approach” to introduce a phonics-based reading program to schools across the country. Together with Yemen’s Education Ministry, Creative provided 8,000 educators with more effective ways to teach Arabic reading and writing, as well as sustainable training and support models and updated teaching materials.

The program has benefitted more than 250,000 first, second and third-grade students whose reading has noticeably improved: 97 percent of first graders were able to read more than six times faster after using Creative’s approach for three months. The government expanded the program nationally as part of the official first grade curriculum.

About Creative

Creative works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in education, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace. Creative is the second-largest company owned by women that works with the U.S. government.

Based in Washington, D.C., Creative currently has programs in nearly 20 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in 85 countries and on nearly every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflictive environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.

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