UNICEF Australia and NABU join forces to address the global literacy crisis heightened by COVID-19

Innovative not-for-profit NABU partners with leading children’s agency UNICEF Australia to increase mother tongue language reading resources for vulnerable children.


One of Australia’s leading children’s organisations, UNICEF Australia, has partnered with NABU, an award-winning best practice literacy organization to help address the impact of COVID-19 on early grade literacy for children across the developing world. UNICEF works in over 190 countries to provide humanitarian and emergency support for the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.


COVID-19 has affected 1.6 billion school children worldwide, with the closing of schools reducing the already limited access many children have to learning materials. Even before COVID-19, 250 million school children in low-income countries never achieve basic reading skills, costing an additional $129 billion per annum. A large part of this problem is the lack of culturally anchored, mother tongue learning resources.


Now, more than ever, innovative solutions are required to address this global literacy crisis heightened by COVID-19. NABU’s low bandwidth reading application and mother tongue content creation platform coupled with UNICEF’s mandate to ensure every child’s right to learn is fulfilled have the power to reach millions of children.


“Even before the pandemic, NABU was on the frontlines of addressing the literacy crisis. We focus on helping young children learn to read in their mother tongue, so they can bridge to learning in English and other national languages at school. If children learn to read in their mother tongue, they are more likely to stay in school, and break the cycle of poverty.” says Tanyella Evans, Executive Director of NABU.


NABU and UNICEF Australia will work to overcome these educational barriers by focusing on the most disadvantaged and excluded children. Investment in children’s education in the early grades is pivotal to addressing the learning crisis and breaking the intergenerational poverty through better health and economic opportunity.


“NABU’s technology makes it possible to create and adapt early grade learning content across hundreds of languages. UNICEF Australia is proud to support programs like these that give every child a fair chance to learn, read, and access a quality education. With UNICEF’s support and global reach, we look forward to seeing the platform reach more children over the coming months and years. With UNICEF Australia, NABU can take their reach to the next level, offering the existing platform and expertise of our global reach,” says Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia.


The hope is that this partnership will accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote learning opportunities for all.

About NABU

NABU is a non-profit organization, with a mission to solve the imbalance in children’s book creation and distribution, so all children can read and rise to their full potential. We disrupt the cycle of poverty by leveraging technology to publish children’s books for free on digital platforms in mother tongue languages.


About UNICEF Australia 

UNICEF Australia is the National Committee of the United Nations Children’s Fund.  UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. During COVID-19, UNICEF Australia is providing immediate relief and advocating for children to help them recover, rebound, reimagine and create a stronger future.


Press Inquiries

Emily Yanay – Development Associate, NABU 

Email: emily@nabu.org