Since 1991, the READ model has evolved from the idea of a rural library to a thriving network of READ Centers and sustaining enterprises in Bhutan, India and Nepal.
rural villagers have access to READ Centers.
READ Centers established to date.
for-profit enterprises launched to sustain READ Centers
villages are served by READ Centers.
We have been working with the research and evaluation firm Learning for Action (LFA) since 2012 to create and implement a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to measure our impact and improve our model.
We developed a new Theory of Change, Logic Models, and Evaluation Plan, and our staff and volunteers now collect data on a regular basis from a sample of community members in Bhutan, India, and Nepal through surveys and focus group discussions. In 2013, LFA analyzed our first batch of data and shared their findings in an evaluation report.
Click on one of our four prioritized outcome areas below to learn more.
Nearly all READ Center users have used the Center to access information about health. 8 in 10 from Nepal and India accessed information on agriculture.
A large majority of villagers surveyed - 99% in Bhutan, 75% in India, and 67% in Nepal - report that without their local READ Center, they would not have access to the educational resources and opportunities available there.
The vast majority of teachers in India (92%) and Nepal (84%) report that their students' attendance and grades have improved as a result of having a Center in their community. A majority of students use their Center's resources to help with school work, and teachers use the Center to develop coursework.
"[Center resources] have helped me prepare lesson plans and different activities for students. [They have] also increased my knowledge." - Teachers' Survey Respondent
Increased confidence and self-esteem has enabled the majority of women surveyed to speak comfortably in front of groups.
Our metrics show that simply providing a dedicated safe space for women to gather, share information, and learn from each other increases their self-esteem and confidence.
Gender norms limit women's ability to leave their homes unaccompanied in much of South Asia. Three quarters of women in India and Nepal reported being able to travel outside of their home more often without having to ask permission because of the READ Center.
Two thirds of women in India and Nepal and 26% of women in Bhutan now have more decision-making power in their families on matters such as health care, their children's education, spending, and family planning.
"I learned about women's empowerment, women's rights, gender equity... Now I can raise my voice against any form of violence. [This has] built my leadership capacity and enhanced my decision-making ability."
The majority of READ Center users in Nepal and India reported that their income has increased moderately or very much as a result of accessing Center resources.
Three quarters of training participants surveyed in India and 64% in Nepal reported that they could better take care of their families' economic needs because of livelihood skills obtained at the READ Center.
63% of women increased their income or savings as a result of participating in savings cooperatives at READ Centers in Nepal, and 1/5 have started their own businesses.
"I am an ordinary farmer... the Center in my village gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge and information on modern farming methods... The knowledge and skills I have gained have helped to improve my income." - Center Users' Focus Group Participant
Community members in all three countries have contributed to their READ Center by volunteering time, donating money, participating in committees, or helping launch new programs.
"By engaging local communities in establishing, maintaining, and sustaining READ Centers, READ cultivates authentic community ownership." - LFA Group Evaluation Report
Community members in all 3 countries reported a strong sense of ownership and belonging to their local READ Centers (83% in India, 75% in Nepal, 48% in Bhutan)
"The Center is a sacred place where there is no discrimination against any caste or creed." - Women's Focus Group Participant
Want to learn more?