Omidyar Network Grant to Akshara Foundation Will Support Programs to Augment and Improve Elementary Education

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. and MUMBAI, India, March 22, 2012 — Omidyar Network announced today a three-year grant of up to USD $950k to Akshara Foundation, a Bangalore-based public charitable trust. Akshara develops and administers multiple programs in Karnataka to improve literacy and numeracy of pre-school and K-7 students, as well as the capacity and efficacy of their teachers and schools.

Akshara’s multi-faceted programs are designed to ensure children are in school, engaged and learning well. Efforts range from in-school programs that target students struggling with reading and mathematics to a network of school and community-based libraries provided to encourage and sustain a healthy reading habit among children. Akshara has also developed a technology platform, Karnataka Learning Partnership, that enables and encourages all the stakeholders involved in primary education – parents, teachers, officials and the community – to participate and contribute to the cause of ensuring better schools and education. The Karnataka Learning Partnership promotes a system where a network of citizens, nonprofits and officials galvanize community-led ownership of the public schooling system and drive positive change.

“Omidyar Network is proud to support Akshara Foundation and its programs,” commented Surya Mantha, investment director at Omidyar Network. “One of the many impressive aspects of Akshara is its philosophy of community ownership and community-driven solutions to address the challenges facing education in Karnataka. We believe their approach can serve as a model for the entire country.”

Akshara develops child-centric programs based on extensive, careful analysis of the needs of students and teachers. Designed to be scalable, once a program is implemented and refined, Akshara transfers ownership to the State. This approach of partnering with the government and involving the community is central to Akshara Foundation’s mission and success.

“Akshara Foundation has been implementing quality programs to improve literacy for over a decade. We will now be working with multiple partners to facilitate community ownership and participation in primary education to create a multiplier effect and shift the locus of control from the supply side to the demand side. We want to create a technology-based participative framework that will bring about systemic reform in the education system,” said Ashok Kamath, chairman, Akshara Foundation. For more information on Akshara, please visit