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Award-Winning Developer and Distributor of Educational Programs for Mobile Devices



Mobile Education Leader To Use Its Innovative Mobile Education Programs
To Develop Literacy Rich Home Environments for Parents and Children

Durham, NC – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded Urban Planet Mobile, the world’s leading mobile education provider, with a significant grant to develop a mobile literacy program for Ugandan parents and children in their native language (Rutooro).  The grant is part of the Grand Challenge: All Children Reading competition funded by the USAID in partnership with World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The Grand Challenge is aimed at improving world literacy rates through new technologies, including mobile technology, that drive innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to literacy problems. It is widely accepted that increased literacy leads to more stable economies, healthier communities and stronger civic engagement.

More than 450 companies from over 75 countries applied for the grant.  Urban Planet Mobile was one of 32 companies to be awarded with the prestigious grant.  Urban Planet Mobile and their fellow recipients are part of an elite set of education innovators trusted to develop, promote and deliver literacy education as part of this Grand Challenge from USAID.  The participants of the USAID All Children Reading challenge are as follows:

  • Human Network International
  • Georgia State University
  • Perkins School for the Blind
  • World Vision
  • ECO Development
  • Women of Vision
  • Urban Planet Media and Entertainment, Corp
  • Planet Read
  • Whiz Kids Workshop
  • Friends of Matenwa
  • Save the Children – Malawi
  • The Asia Foundation
  • Worldreader
  • Pragya
  • ESIH
  • Drakkar Ltd.
  • Comtech University of Nairobi
  • YMCA Senegal
  • Perkins International
  • Save the Children – Sri Lanka
  • Initiative Africa
  • FHI 360 Malawi
  • Open Learning Exchange
  • Lubuto Library Project, Inc.
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • DAJ
  • Olinga Foundation for Human Development
  • Global Partnership for Education
  • Step by Step Benevolent Foundation
  • Molteno
  • Center for Civil Integration and Inter-Ethnic Relations
  • World Vision International
  • AIR
  • World Vision Australia
  • Stellenbosh University
  • Africa Educational Trust
  • Sesame Workshop Initiatives India
  • PLC
  • Pratham Education Teaching and Learning Materials
  • Education Development Center

“The ability to read is central to all aspects of a child’s life and future,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.  “We have the opportunity to celebrate an initiative designed to generate game-changing ideas to help children around the world improve their reading skills.”

“This grant enables Urban Planet Mobile to prove the efficacy of mobile solutions in education while introducing our innovative mobile education solution to emerging areas of the world,” says M. Catherine OliverSmith, Project Manager, MobiLiteracy Uganda and Co-founder of Urban Planet Mobile.  “Our innovation is both scalable and sustainable, giving Urban Planet Mobile the reasonable expectation of follow-on funding to potentially take the solution to more areas of need across the globe.”

Urban Planet’s program, MobiLiteracy Uganda (MLit-U), utilizes affordable, accessible mobile phones and SMS with audio to deliver daily literacy activities and related parent education to rural Ugandan parents and their first grade children.  Using a unique ‘push’ method, daily literacy lessons are sent to the primary adult caregiver automatically.  This reminds the parent(s) to be active in their child’s literacy development.  Because the lessons are audio in their native Rutooro, parents, regardless of literacy level, are able to participate.  One of the most important parts of a child’s literacy development is the active involvement of a parent; this simple innovation, which engages both parents and their children, has a tremendous impact on participation and, therefore, enduring results.

USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance to more than 80 countries worldwide.  The United States government is committed to improving world literacy rates because people who can read enjoy better health, make more money, create safer and more stable democracies, and serve their communities more effectively.  If all students in low-income countries left primary school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty the equivalent of a 12% drop in world poverty.

Urban Planet Mobile is the leading provider of education products created specifically for worldwide, digital delivery.  Developing a wide range of education content for mobile devices including basic and feature phones, smart-phones, and tablets, Urban Planet has distribution worldwide and offers digital products in 20 countries and counting. Additionally, Urban Planet Mobile offers Writing Planet™ the only comprehensive English writing program developed specifically for the English Learning market and built on the world’s most effective automated assessment technology. Urban Planet Mobile is the Global Mobile award winner for best innovation in mobile education for the GSMA, the Frost & Sullivan ICT Asia application provider of the year, and a Gartner Cool Vendor in Education.

Additional information about the company can be obtained at or by calling (919) 323-8763.


This press release is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The contents are the responsibility of Urban Planet Mobile and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

[1] PEG and Project Essay Grade is a mark of Measurement Incorporated.

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