THE UNITED States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated health and educational supplies to over 100 schools in Maguindanao, it said in a statement on Wednesday.  

This comes following the recent launch of the Beginning Reading Program for learners in Cotabato City and Maguindanao, a program undertaken with the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE).  

The goal of this program is to ensure that every Bangsamoro child has access to learning,said USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Thomas LeBlanc in a statement.   

The technology-based program uses low-cost electronic tablets that can function without internet connection to help children from Kindergarten to Grade 3 learn to read. Each device includes early-grade reading materials and video-based reading modules in the local language.  

By teaching children to read, USAID is opening the door to economic opportunity and lifelong learning,he added. 

USAID also introduced the school-in-a-bag program for Bangsamoro learners. They provided 20 packages containing a laptop and 10 tablets each for schools in far-flung and conflict-affected areas. 

Education is very, very important to us, and we are extremely thankful that USAID is supporting the use of our language,said MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal. This is very critical to our continuing efforts to the recognition of our identity as Bangsamoro.”  

USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations for 60 years, investing more than P247.5 billion as support. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan