The Asia Foundation, Mongolia

Promoting reading as a critical tool for early childhood education.

The problem: Even though Mongolia has a high literacy rate (99% as of 2020) and strong school attendance figures (98% as of 2018), there are growing concerns about the quality of education and the level of school-preparedness developed during children’s preschool years. There is not a widespread understanding of the need to provide stimulation for infants and toddlers to help them achieve their full potential as they grow into adults. The challenge exists in both homes and kindergartens. According to the 2018 Mongolia Social Indicator Sample Survey:

  • Only 8.5% of children 3-4 years old meet expected standards for literacy-numeracy.
  • Only 28.6% of Mongolian children own more than 3 children’s books, whereas 37.4% play with smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Our intervention (2021 – Ongoing): Our intervention with the Asia Foundation in Mongolia is called Let’s Read. It is aimed at promoting reading among young children as an effective tool that parents, teachers, and other caregivers can wield to provide young children with the stimulus they need. The programme intends to:

  • Enhance knowledge and awareness among parents and teachers on the importance of reading to children aged 0-5 through public campaigns as well as community-focused activities
  • Create resources for parents, teachers, and children to read stories in Mongolian language
  • Increase the availability of high-quality Mongolian children’s books in print and digital formats
  • Influence government policy and curriculum for promoting reading among young children

Results (As of Dec 2022):

  • Organised 52 Storytime events and reached836 young children, providing high-quality learning experiences to children
  • Engaged 137 parents and caregivers and 416 early childhood workforce in training and reading sessions to build awareness on the importance of reading to young children
  • Generated over 1.4 million social media engagements through reading campaigns
  • Launched a free digital reading app called “Let’s Read” accessible in online and offline modes
  • Translated 189 books into Mongolian language; the app gained 4,419 unique users with the total number of book reads reaching 69,621.

Highlight: For programme delivery, TAF partnered with three organisations namely GerHub, Mongolian Education Alliance, and Whyze Agency to implement key components such as community engagement and campaigns. This consortium approach immensely helped the programme in leveraging the expertise of local organisations on the ground.

Read Impact Story here