Monsanto Fund and Room to Read recently announced a landmark three-year partnership until 2018 to improve literacy and gender equality for 21,000 children in farming communities in Vietnam.

With new investment amounting to $300,633 (VND6.76 billion) from the Monsanto Fund, the partnership will focus on improving education in rural provinces across the country through two major pillars: enhancing literacy for primary school-level students and through helping female students complete high school.

This program will provide 250 girls from disadvantaged farmer families with financial support, mentorship and soft skills training to help them complete a three-year high school program. This initiative also includes building 6 school libraries and publishing three new children books that will enable primary school students to develop enhanced communications skills and to nurture their love of reading.

With both Room to Read and Monsanto Fund jointly committed to securing the future of female high school students, the new partnership will have a renewed focus on supporting girls' education through a higher number of beneficiaries and a longer period of support for this program, while retaining the literacy program for primary schools.

"At Monsanto, we recognize that education is one of the greatest aspirations of Vietnamese families, and we are committed to improving educational opportunities for children of farmers in the rural communities in which we operate," said Narasimham Upadyayula, CEO of DEKALB Vietnam. "Growing with Vietnam for more than 20 years, we do understand that building a better future for children through education is the dream of every parent. I'm glad to see that students and their parents have realized the benefits from the partnership during the initial phase, and we are looking forward to seeing these young generations empowered to build a sustainable future for the farming community in Vietnam."

"It has been encouraging to see the success we have achieved together with thousands of children provided access to enriched content in new libraries and 175 schoolgirls completed high school with essential knowledge and skills. This accomplishment has encouraged Room to Read to elevate our partnership with Monsanto Fund until 2018 and our goal is to continue to support Vietnam's educational transformation," added Le Tien Phong, director, Room to Read Vietnam.

Established in 2014, the partnership between the Monsanto Fund and Room to Read has aimed to make a positive impact on Vietnam's agricultural community through enhanced educational support. This has included setting up 8 libraries, publishing two children's books for 62,260 primary students, as well as providing academic support, mentoring and life skills training for 175 girls across the country. Both partners are working to ensure that their engagement bridges the access gap to education between boys and girls as well as rural and urban areas across Vietnam.