By Raquel Aguilar
Northampton, MA –News Direct– Cisco Systems Inc.
NABU’s mission is to solve the global literacy crisis so all children can read and rise to their full potential. Through mother tongue book creation, tech innovation, and community engagement, NABU is tackling global illiteracy at a scale never before achieved.
Now that the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 winners have been officially announced, we are excited for you to learn more about each winning team and the story behind each innovation. The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge is an annual competition that awards cash prizes to early-stage tech entrepreneurs solving the world’s toughest problems. Now in its fifth year, the competition awarded its largest prize pool ever, $1 million USD, to 20 winning teams from around the world.
I had the opportunity to meet with Tanyella Evans, Executive Director & Co-Creator of NABU Global Inc, who was awarded a $10,000 USD prize as a Regional Fourth Runner-Up in the U.S. NABU is a free mobile app providing culturally relevant mother tongue books, aiming to improve child literacy outcomes in developing countries by bringing literacy tools into the homes of millions of children. While building a school for 3,000 children in Haiti, Tanyella noticed that even the poorest families had mobile phones which inspired her to utilize technology to create NABU along with Taniya Alexander and Isabel Sheinman.
What problem is your technology solution trying to solve?
Tanyella: Over 250 million children globally do not possess basic reading skills by the time they leave school. This is an immense problem as literacy is the key to opening doors and opportunities. We believe that access to literacy is a fundamental human right. NABU specifically researched the systemic causes of global illiteracy. An overwhelming number of children in the developing world, and approximately 40 percent of children globally, do not have access to early grade reading books written in a language they speak or understand. Can you imagine showing up on your first day of school, seeing a book and being read to for the first time in your life, in a language that is foreign to you?
Can you explain how the solution works?
Tanyella: NABU’s Authentic Book Creation (ABC) Lab is where we create collections of children’s books targeting different reading levels, focusing on early grade reading from ages 0 to 10 …….