In the Press

New Technology Increases End-to-End Supply Chain Data Visibility

August 23, 2017

Books are essential to early-grade reading instruction. However, when books (both text and supplemental reading materials) are ordered for low-income countries, there is no guarantee that the students who need them receive them. The All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development launched a Tracking and Tracing Book competition to find innovative methods to track books destined for early-grade classrooms and learning centers in low-income countries that would also allow stakeholders, ranging from parents to Ministries of Education and donor agencies, to access tracking information quickly and easily.

The Track and Trace system, developed by JSI in partnership with sister organization World Education, Inc., improves transparency and accountability of education supply chains in Malawi by tracking the actual location of textbooks throughout the ordering and distribution process.

The system uses a web interface, a mobile app, SMS, and smart phones to read barcodes, manage data, and produce custom reports. This integrated approach allows users at all level of the system to track the distribution of specific quantities of textbooks and materials designated for each classroom and advocate for timely delivery to better meet children’s needs.

Watch this video to learn how Track and Trace is working in Malawi. A report on the alpha test can be downloaded here.



Because of the successful alphatest of the Track and Trace system in Malawi, World Education Cambodia  was awarded $500,000 from the World Bank’s Reach for Reading program to improve accountability and transparency in the book supply chain in Cambodia. The Enhancing Book Distribution project will use the Track and Trace system to generate rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of a results-based financing intervention that incentivizes school communities and other key players to build a robust supply chain for the distribution of books and supplies to classrooms in Cambodia.

This is an exciting collaboration that harnesses JSI’s expertise in supply chain management and logistics information technology to improve education. It is the first time a tracking system with these features will be applied at scale, and if successful, could be widely applicable to other countries.