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Tuesday, May 16 • 11:45 - 12:25
Talking Books + android for audio knowledge in rural communities LIMITED

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Since 2007, Literacy Bridge has worked with local and international partners (e.g. AGRA, CARE, and UNICEF) to create and deliver audio content on agriculture, health, and gender issues for hundreds of thousands of rural farmers and their families using “Talking Book” audio devices. The audio content comes in the form of interviews with local experts, peer endorsements, songs, and dramas.

Talking Books are battery-operated, durable, low-cost, and simple for people to operate without any formal education. Since few communities using them have Internet connectivity, the Talking Books are updated over USB -- with laptops, until now.

This year, Literacy Bridge has launched an Android app to update Talking Books and collect user feedback and usage statistics. When 3G or WIFI is available, the app uploads this feedback and data to the cloud for immediate analysis and reporting. This influences operational adjustments and future content production.

Using Android provides an opportunity for more local partners and entrepreneurs to update Talking Books and send back usage data and feedback.

In this presentation, we will demonstrate the Talking Book, its Audio Content Management System, and the Android app. We will also discuss finding the right blend of technology for the target audience.

Too often, ICT4D practitioners make technology decisions based on penetration rates at a national level. In contrast, this approach matches the right technology for each context: simple and durable technology at the household level, but smartphones at the agent level. In doing so, it also addresses SDGs 5 and 10 (gender and income inequalities).

SDG 5 focuses on gender equality and using ICT to promote the empowerment of women; but technology often widens the inequality gap. In low-to-middle income countries a woman is 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Given that women already have less access to services such as agriculture extension, the right technology choice is critical to ensure the gender inequality gap gets smaller, not larger.

avatar for Cliff Schmidt

Cliff Schmidt

Founder & Executive Director, Literacy Bridge
Cliff founded Literacy Bridge in 2007 to make agriculture and health knowledge accessible to people without literacy skills in remote rural areas. He created an audio-based device called the "Talking Book", which led to a fellowship award presented by Bill Gates and a Clinton Global... Read More →

Tuesday May 16, 2017 11:45 - 12:25 IST