EVOKE: A video game about global literacy

Pilot program in South Africa shows promising results


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Evoke Leaders for Literacy

What is your superpower? Are you a deep collaborator, empathetic activist, creative visionary, or systems thinker?

These are the superpowers young people in South Africa have been developing through the EVOKE: Leaders for Literacy program. The initiative is a partnership between Pearson, as part of the Project Literacy campaign, the World Bank and the coalition All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.

EVOKE: Leaders for Literacy takes a game-based learning platform, originally developed by the World Bank, and uses it to improve child literacy by leveraging youth as social innovators. A first pilot was delivered in 2017 in Limpopo, the province with the lowest literacy rate in South Africa. Over 80 youth aged between 14 and 32 years took part in the 3 month programme. During the pilot, the youth used the multi-player game to learn about the importance of literacy, gain relevant 21st century skills and apply user-centred design to identify and solve challenges in their communities.

The results are promising. The students clearly demonstrated an entrepreneurial perspective, stating that they would use their new literacy knowledge to further their careers, assist schoolchildren with their work, start mini-libraries, or write books. Regardless of age, youth also demonstrated an improved knowledge base of literacy. The qualitative results suggest that the students had undergone a radical change in how they perceived literacy issues within their communities and their role in terms of addressing these challenges.

The students were incredibly dedicated, walking up to 45 minutes every day to complete the programme. With just 36% of the working-age population employed in Limpopo, it is our hope that, EVOKE can serve as a powerful tool for providing the skills needed for young people to become social innovators and develop new opportunities within their communities that lead the way in the fight against illiteracy.

In March 2018, Pearson South Africa kicked off a second pilot in Tembisa, to refine the platform, gather feedback and get EVOKE ready for rolling out in South Africa and beyond.

About All Children Reading:

Launched in 2011 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development is a series of competitions that leverages science and technology to source, test, and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries.

Watch this space as we’ll be launching EVOKE’s video next month! For more information about the program, visit EVOKE: Leaders for Literacy 

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