Announcing the winners of the second World Bank Group and Financial Times blog writing competition


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School children. Photo: © Greta Granados/World Bank
School children. Photo: © Greta Granados/World Bank

The World Bank Group and the Financial Times just completed the second edition of our joint blog writing competition that focused on the issue of learning poverty. What is learning poverty? It is the fact, that more than 53% of children in low-and middle-income countries can’t read a simple text by age 10, greatly limiting their opportunities. So, we set out our blog competition asking young people around the world how they would help children learn to read by the time they are 10 years old.

We specifically asked two questions that bloggers could choose to answer:

  • If you were the education minister of your country what would you do to make sure every 10-year old is able to read?
  • What could teachers and schools do differently to help all children learn to read?

We received more than 400 entries from youth from 55 countries, spanning all regions. Many blog posts across cultures and continents had common themes such as providing after school reading programs, instituting activities that made reading fun, and providing incentives for school systems to help children read. Some of the most powerful blog posts were from boys and girls who shared their personal stories and the role models or inspiration that made them readers.

We had several excellent entries that led to a tough evaluation process, that was slightly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had an excellent cohort of judges and finally emerged with three winners.

The winners are Ayomide Olawale from Bookers International School in Nigeria, Faisa Syahla Sabila from Al-Izhar Senior High School in Indonesia, and Grace Erika Meki Jumah from Joyce Banda Foundation Secondary School in Malawi. Do read their winning blog posts linked below. We also want to thank all the students from around the world who sent in creative, thoughtful and innovative submissions.

Winning Entries:

A pathway from the street to the book 

Read the books and lead the world

Creating a reading-centered system


Arathi Sundaravadanan

Senior External Affairs Officer, World Bank

Henry Okereke
September 10, 2021


The Wrong Role Models Of The Poor Countries Of The World - Nigeria In The Spotlight.

Sad as this sounds, the absolute truth is that many decades of misrule in some countries of the world have resulted in creating a warped view of who is a role model for the younger generations in such societies, this is particularly the case in Nigeria and there is no end of this negative trend insight for the post-COVID-19 near future, this ugly prospect is a cause for huge concerns to a lot of responsible adults in such societies, the absence of commitment on the part of governments in these climes, leaves a yawning faultline the efforts of world bodies and national institutions in creating opportunities and stimulus for engaging the young in productive ventures that will help them be part of the drivers the economies of the future.

This then argues, that addressing the ravages of the stated pandemic by creating opportunities of financial inclusion in the form of grants and loans, without tieing some of such initiatives to any form of Integrity screening, would in many cases result in empowering the destructive worms that infect - otherwise, very good programs to uplift the needy and head off the younger populations from crimes and violence.

This should, therefore, be in consideration in the manner and channels the humanitarian organizations decide to deliver aid to the poor of the nations of the world, especially in places like Nigeria, where corrupt government officials and irresponsible politicians intercept or are made the administrators of palliative measures to rehabilitate or kickstart the future generations after this scourge of the human society called Covid-19.

Henry Okereke writes from a rural community called Atta, in the southeastern state of Imo, Nigeria.