Client: USAID & Creative Associates | Pillar: social development | Duration: 6 months

Thematic Areas: Education, Early Grade Reading, Child Development

Services Provided: Formative Research, Strategy and Planning, Stakeholder Management



Due to the lack of mainstreamed reading culture within Afghan society, many children have few opportunities to engage with books at home, severely limiting their literacy skills and also depriving them of the unique childhood experience of enjoying reading with family.

The Afghan Ministry of Education has launched a new Early Grade Reading (EGR) approach for public schools, but low awareness and understanding among parents and teachers of the new approach threatens to limit its success.



  • We developed a mixed-methods methodology using both qualitative and quantitative approaches to gather actionable insights.

  • Through interviews with subject-matter experts, discussions with Afghan parents and teachers, and a survey of parents to identify the barriers to accompanying children reading, our team uncovered social and behavioral barriers that limit children’s literacy.

  • Our participatory approach enabled us to gather feedback and input from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Afghan Ministry of Education. These workshops provided validation and nuance to further ground our research in evidence.

  • Based on the research insights we drafted a Visibility/Social and Behavioral Change Strategy that outlined a communications-based approach to encourage a culture of reading in Afghan homes.

Our social and behavioral insight

To effectively generate social and behavioral change around reading practices, we examined the reasons why some parents read to their children more than others. Parents who read to their children:

  • Were more likely to be literate

  • Reported that they felt they had the capacity (self-efficacy) to do so

  • Were more likely to believe that others would approve of reading to children

  • Were more likely to believe in the importance of reading to children


what we did

Based on the results of the behavioral research, Magenta drafted a Social and Behavioral Change (SBC) Strategy that outlined a framework to address the challenges. 

The strategy guided the design of IQRAA Afghanistan: A National, Two-Year Awareness Campaign, informed by SBC insights with the following objectives: 

  1. Enhance the early grade reading culture in Afghan households

  2. Increase parents’ support for the new EGR model 

  3. Improve teachers’ implementation of the new EGR model


The campaign will be implemented across Afghanistan over a 2-year period, with activities on a national level as well as at the local level in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar, and Laghman provinces.


  • At the center of the campaign strategy is a ”magnet” that will draw an audience to a specific event, from where key messages can then be transmitted 

  • Use trusted voices and platforms 

  • Repeat key messages in various forms and through multiple channels 

  • Use tailored local and relevant content and messaged 


  • TV drama series and talk show

  • Radio talk show

  • Children’s reading festival

  • Mobile theatres


  • Social Media campaign

  • Edutainment

  • TV and Radio PSAs