Tenth Anniversary celebrations are in high gear as the Digicel Foundation teams up with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Education to announce the start of the 2014 Enrichment Programme. This year, thirty one schools will be receiving Enrichment Centres and Mobile Carts to assist students in grades one to three better prepare for the Grade Four Literacy Test. This expansion has been made possible with the assistance of USAID through a partnership valued at more than US$3.7 million. Over a three year period, the Enrichment Programme will be active within an additional 95 schools, bringing the total number of schools impacted by the Enrichment initiative to nearly 200 schools island-wide. “USAID has a robust partnership legacy in Jamaica, but there is still more work that needs to be done in order to seize the full potential and impact that can result from these partnerships. No single Government can be the sole solution to the myriad of challenges in a country,” noted Denise Herbol, Mission Director at USAID. “Here in Jamaica, the Ministry of Education and companies like Digicel are working together to achieve established literacy objectives. Literacy is the stepping stone that enables people to gain access to information, to improve their health and nutrition, widen their livelihood options and make informed choices. When we invest in learning and literacy, we invest in human dignity, development and peace,” she added. Samantha Chantrelle, CEO of the Digicel Foundation, also expressed her appreciation for the partnership with both USAID and the Ministry of Education, “We are delighted that USAID has partnered with the Digicel Foundation on this very important initiative and we thank the Ministry of Education for continuing to support our efforts since 2009.” Mrs. Chantrelle continued, “It is truly through collaboration that we can strive to get more done as a country. The Digicel Foundation remains committed to doing our part in assisting our nation to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of achieving 100% literacy by 2015. This is a very special year for us at the Foundation as we commemorate 10 years of inspirational team work with extraordinary Jamaicans and organisations. We are actively working to make 2014 a memorable year as we continue our year long celebration with our life-changing partners.” The official announcement for all thirty-one schools took place at Davis Primary School in St. Catherine on January 29. Renovations at Davis Primary began last year with all equipment and furnishings for the Enrichment Centre installed within the last two months. The room is now fully equipped with new desks, chairs, a filing cabinet, interactive whiteboards, a television set, DVD and MP3 players, a laminating machine and a wide range of interactive teaching resources and software. This school was also the deserving recipient of a Mobile Library Cart, containing more than 200 books to provide children with supplemental reading material. The Mobile Library Cart Programme is a joint initiative of the Digicel Foundation and The Spanish—Jamaican Foundation. More than 700 students at Davis Primary are expected to benefit from this recent intervention. “When we look at the classroom that Digicel has set up, all of our teachers view it as the ideal classroom, with everything at your finger tips,” said Principal Sharon Campbell-Danvers. “Our literacy and numeracy rates have declined according to the National Education Inspectorate, but I expect that through the use of technology and having the programme target grades one to three, we will be able to see significant improvement, especially since children gravitate towards technology, which will in turn propel growth.” The Enrichment Programme focuses on identifying those students who have fallen behind in school and are below their grade level in reading. Some of the children are considered pre-primers, meaning that they are unable to identify letters of the alphabet, prior to being enrolled in the programme. The successes to date have shown an average two-grade level increase in reading attributed to the Enrichment Programme intervention.