The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking applications for a cooperative agreement from qualified entities to implement the Strengthening Pathways to Language, Literacy, and Learning for Deaf Learners (SPLD) activity.
USAID intends to make an award to the applicant who best meets the objectives of this funding opportunity based on the Merit Review Criteria described in this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) subject to a risk assessment. Eligible parties interested in submitting an application are encouraged to read this NOFO thoroughly to understand the type of program sought, application submission requirements and selection process.
- The purpose of the SPLD Activity is to help Rwandan deaf learners achieve commensurate early 1 grade-level reading skills. The Activity will contribute to improved literacy outcomes for all children by the end of Primary 3 (P3) by:
- Improving parental and community support for deaf learners;
- Strengthening teacher RSL fluency and bilingual (Rwandan Sign Language (RSL) to Kinyawrwanda) deaf education pedagogy; and
- Increasing youth engagement to support RSL learning and deaf learners. The Activity will result in measurable improvement in language acquisition, literacy, and learning for deaf learners. The primary outcomes will focus on the acquisition and use of RSL among deaf children, deaf youth, their families, their community members, and their teachers to improve learning outcomes for children and youth who are deaf.
- USAID intends to award one cooperative agreement pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. Subject to funding availability and at the discretion of the Agency, USAID intends to provide $4,000,000 in total USAID funding over a four-year period.
- The Activity will also synergize with the following complementing USAID activities:
- The Teaching and Learning Materials Market Systems Development Activity intends to work with both the public and private sectors to increase the production, publication, affordability, and availability of Rwandan-made books, including digital RSL storybooks.
- The Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s (OVC) Fund is working with families and communities to increase early childhood development outcomes. As a result, this fund presents an opportunity to lay some of the groundwork for this Activity by raising the importance of early childhood education, especially for deaf children who typically experience delayed language acquisition and other cognitive development.
- The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA Adaptation) Activity will:
- develop EGRA tools for P1 to P3 learners who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, and have intellectual disabilities;
- build the capacity of workshop participants from MINEDUC, NESA, REB, and relevant civil-society organizations (CSOs) to conduct similar adaptations in the future for other assessment instruments used in Rwanda, such as the Learning Achievement in Rwandan Schools (LARS) and Local Early Grade Reading Assessment (LEGRA).
- The Deaf Education Language of Instruction Transitions in Education Systems (DELITES) Research Study Activity will:
- advance USAID’s global learning agenda in education about transition to language of instruction ecosystems; and
- explore how different language of instruction policy approaches, system factors, and local-level conditions & practices explain variations in reading outcomes among deaf learners in primary grades in Rwanda; and
- provide evidence-informed guidance on language of instruction transition policy design and practice in Rwanda.
Geographical Focus: The Activity will affect the deaf population throughout the country, but its district-level implementation will depend on the location of the deaf learners and their family members. Regarding teaching training, the geographical focus will most likely reflect areas in the country where there are existing schools that serve children/youth who are deaf. Specifically, the Activity will focus on REB’s Teacher Training Colleges, the 18 schools where most of the student population consists of students who are deaf, and, if feasible, the University of Rwanda’s College of Education and potentially other schools and institutions too.
- Qualified applicants may be U.S. private voluntary organizations (U.S. PVOs) and/or U.S., Rwandan or other non-U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private, non-profit organizations (or for-profit companies willing to forego profits), including universities, research organizations, professional associations, and relevant special interest associations.
- Public International Organizations (PIOs) and faith-based and community organizations are also eligible for the award. In support of the Agency’s interest in fostering a larger assistance base and expanding the number and sustainability of development partners, USAID welcomes applications from organizations that have not previously received financial assistance from USAID.
For more information, visit Grants.gov.