Acquisition of a first language is essential for early childhood development and a building block for learning to read. Literacy is linked to all development goals contributing to psycho-social health, employment opportunities, economic growth, and breaking the cycle of poverty.

Globally for children who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind (henceforth referred to as ‘Deaf’*), access to and education in a local sign language is often limited or absent. Without access to whole language with frequent and daily input to an accessible and natural language, the foundations of literacy, children are prevented from reaching their full potential. In developing countries and low-resource contexts, literacy outcomes for children who are Deaf are particularly substandard.

As such,All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Developmentis launching theSign On For Literacy Prize,which seeks technology-based innovations to increase access to local sign languages and develop literacy interventions for children who are Deaf in low-resource contexts. Winning innovations must be novel, while utilizing technology to make a significant impact upon learning and literacy in the Deaf Community.

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CLOSEDFeb 16, 2018Deadline
$175,000 - $250,000Amount

Mandatory Requirements

Implemented In:
RegionLow and Middle Income Countries
Focus AreasTechnology
Literacy (Education) and Disability
The ACR GCD partners are open to a range of solutions, including existing technologies, new technologies, or combinations of both. The focus of the competition is on finding technologies that enable the creation of resources to improve access to, and education in, local sign language for children who are Deaf in low-resource settings.

Innovations should increase language and reading skills, be cost effective for developing country contexts, and have the potential for scale. ACR GCD recognizes that in some settings there is no documented sign language, and to create such resources, language documentation is necessary. As such, solutions that use technology for this crucial first step of documentation then linking sign language to literacy resources will also be considered for awards.

Sign on for Literacy isunable to award cash prizes to suppliers of goods and services that do not meet the nationality and source definitions as referenced in 22 CFR 228.11 and 12, specifically geographic code 937. Geographic code 937 currently excludes Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea

Other Requirements

Target BeneficiariesThese innovations sought bySign On for Literacy will assist parents, educators, communities, and governments in enhancing early childhood development outcomes, improving access to local sign languages, and increasing literacy outcomes of children who are Deaf.
Potential for ScaleSolvers should be able to answer the following questions:

Does the innovation have the potential for global adaptability (e.g. is it limited to country-specific partnerships, one sign or written language and how will the innovation be scaled to other sign languages/countries?
Does the innovation provide incentives for adoption?
Is there a plan for maintaining and growing the innovation?

Application Directions

There are three phases to the Sign On For Literacy Prize. The first phase is targeted at identifying novel innovations with the capacity for increasing language and literacy outcomes with significant impact. The second phase is aimed at prototyping the innovations, whereas the third phase is focused on refining the prototypes, demonstrating their utility in the field, and ensuring that the appropriate mechanisms, partnerships, and plans are in place for the effective implementation of these solutions. Requirements for Phases 2 and 3 of the competition will be described in April 2018 and August 2018.

Be sure to check All Children Readingwebsite for competition updates/date changes

Application And Awards Process

Phase 1: Written Proposal and Project Plan

The first phase requires a written description in English of the proposed innovation and project plan explaining the methods, resources, potential technology platform(s), personnel, existing partnerships (if any), evidence of collaboration with the local Deaf Community in product design and implementation, and preliminary schedule to implement the proposed innovation.

Phase 2: Prototype Development of the Innovation

Phase 1 awardees will be given approximately three months to adapt their innovations for demonstration to the ACR GCD partners. During this time period, Solvers must be willing to work with the ACR GCD partners and other collaborative organizations (e.g. the national member, or Ordinary Member of WFD, if available). Mentors will work closely with Solvers to incorporate language and literacy outcomes assessments within the innovation. The development period will be determined following review of the proposals and in-depth discussions with the semi-finalists to identify a reasonable timeline.

The demonstration will be conducted virtually through a video web conference. If this is not possible or sufficient, alternative avenues will be considered. The demonstration must show how the innovation will address potential technology challenges when used in a low-resource context.

Phase 3: Prototype Refinement and Field Test Demonstration of the Innovation

The anticipated duration of Phase 3 is three months. Finalists will refine their winning Phase 2 prototype and field test their innovations in a low-resource setting. ACR GCD partners are committed to researching the impact upon language and literacy outcomes, thus studies will be conducted during the piloting of the prototype and followed more extensively upon the anticipated roll-out of the innovation.



Past Funded Innovations Of Sign on for Literacy

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