World Education at a Glance

World Education, Inc., is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor
through education and social and economic development programs.

We are education development experts who believe that everyone has the right to a high-quality education. Our work is driven by equity, inclusion, and the understanding that education can improve the quality of life and increase economic opportunities for people worldwide.

Our programs create and strengthen access to services that support people’s individual and collective needs—whether that’s the rural poor, people with disabilities, women, immigrants, and refugees, or adults who need foundational skills. 

Our programs improve adult education, strengthen education systems, build early-grade literacy, help displaced individuals, mitigate the effects of HIV, and reduce gender-based violence.

A WIDE RANGE OF EXPERTISE

United States

An estimated 32 million adults in the U.S. lack basic reading skills, and a similar number lack the digital literacy needed to succeed in the workplace. Improving literacy and bridging the digital divide that isolates poor and rural communities are crucial to reskilling the American workforce. World Education closes skills gaps by developing innovative methodologies and tools for digital and distance learning. Recently, companies ranging from Walmart to Adobe have engaged World Education to improve the readability of new products and give employees the basic computer skills they need to succeed.

International

Two female Cambodian students work together on a desktop computer in school.World Education works in 20 countries to improve education outcomes and remove barriers to accessing education. We work in formal education systems, developing curricula, training teachers, adapting and deploying technology, and keeping kids—especially girls—in school, and in non-formal education, working with community-based organizations to provide educational opportunities to out-of-school children, women, and workers. We also implement projects to remove social and economic barriers that keep kids out of school through case management, livelihood training, mine risk education, and community health services.

RECENT RESULTS

  • In partnership with Walmart, we established digital navigator services in 9 cities across the U.S. to help workers secure affordable access to the internet and learn how to use it.
  • In Laos, 244 people with disabilities were supported through individual case management and income-generating activities to sustain a living.
  • In Cambodia, Cameroon, El Salvador, Niger, Senegal, and Sudan we are working with the World Bank to improve textbook supply chains and ensure that learning materials are distributed in as many schools as possible. 
  • In Massachusetts, 2,438 adult educators improved their skills in advising, career pathways, digital literacy, and education leadership. 1,464 educators improved their skills in technology-enabled instruction.
  • In Ghana, we have reached 14,760 girls who would otherwise be out of school by enrolling them in formal education and economic empowerment programs.

SAMPLE PROJECTS

Working Together for Workforce Development

Most of the employees in the Housekeeping, Utility, and Convention Services department at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center in Boston are non-native English speakers. They are just a handful of the 19 million immigrant workers nationwide who struggle with learning the English language. Although they have aspirations, many find that their limited English skills hold them back from progressing as quickly as they would like.

World Education and the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center formed a partnership in 2018 to offer a 6-month curriculum that combined English language training with a focus on workplace vocabulary, as well as key safety and service concepts specific to hotel staff. The program was extended for two years.

“It was smart to connect the curricula to real-life work. The course became a training in English, but also workplace safety. This was double the value for us.”

– Seaport President David O’Shaughnessy

Puppetry for Mine Risk Education

About one-third of Laos remains contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the Vietnam War, including over 80 million cluster munitions. Since the end of the war, more than 20,000 people, including children, have been injured by UXO.

In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, World Education has been working since 1996 to improve safety by educating the people of Laos and Myanmar about the dangers of UXO. Today, the project reaches different groups of learners through various activities. In the formal school system, we developed a UXO awareness curriculum and trained teachers to implement it in primary and secondary schools. Part of this curriculum involves the formation of youth puppetry troupes to perform awareness skits that educate their peers about the dangers of unexploded ordnance. We also work with non-formal education centers across the country to deliver awareness sessions aimed at both children and adults, especially farmers who are in frequent danger due to their occupation. 

This year we are also working with local media outlets, including radio and social media. Content will be tailored to both children and adults to continue to raise awareness of the dangers of UXO and practical advice on how to stay safe.

Navigating a Connected World with Walmart

Racial and social inequities are intertwined with deep digital divides and have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Response measures have moved education, social and health services, and employment online. Only 10% of the 32 million adults in the U.S. who need to learn how to use a computer have access to digital literacy courses. With funding from Walmart, World Education has responded by designing and supporting diverse organizations and state systems to launch digital navigator services in eight states. 

Digital navigators are trained staff or volunteers who help adults and families secure affordable internet access and services and develop foundational digital skills. Partner sites include libraries, a tribal community college, adult education and workforce organizations, and a state social service agency. 

The digital navigators coach participants using methods designed to develop digital resilience, which we define as having the awareness, skills, agility, and confidence to use new technologies and adapt to changing digital skill demands.

“To ensure a more equitable digital future as digital learning and services increasingly are the new normal, we must ensure that support for developing digital resilience is radically accessible to all of us.”

 – Priyanka Sharma, Project Director with the EdTech Center @ World Education

Focusing on the Family

In Egypt, the Literate Village program was initiated to ensure that women—especially mothers of primary school childrenhave the literacy skills for continuous learning and self-improvement. The project developed a model that works to break the cycle of generational illiteracy. The model consists of three months of integrated adult literacy classes, followed by six months of integrated adult literacy, intergenerational learning, and family literacy classes. At the end of this cycle, women may opt-in to a six-month “post-literacy” group, intended to strengthen their foundational literacy and learning skills. Following the adult literacy classes, women may participate in leadership skills development sessions.

39,553 women have enrolled in literacy classes over the life of the project. Over 2,550 literacy classes have been opened in 1,247 villages in the Sohag, Assuit, and Beheira governorates. In our endline survey, women who completed the adult literacy course also showed changes in their knowledge, attitudes, and practices surrounding education. Thirty-five percent participated in reading and writing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, most often with other family members.

Photo of Egyptian women attending a literacy class by Laura Boushnak

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