Talking Book Behavior Change Program

Literacy Bridge has developed the Talking Book, a portable audio device that delivers educational messages on topics such as agriculture and health to rural areas of Ghana to target and aid those who are illiterate for its Talking Book Behavior Change Program.

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Literacy Bridge’s Talking Book is an audio computer that delivers health and agriculture lessons and information to remote, rural communities in which many individuals are illiterate. The device, which contains a battery that lasts for approximately 25 hours, requires no training and no literacy or numeracy skills, as it talks users through the instructions in the local language. Thus, every member of the household can listen to the messages together or utilize the device for his or her specific needs.

Launched in 2007, Talking Book has reached about 4,500 households in 50 villages of rural Ghana (as of December 2014). For the messages, Literacy Bridge coordinates with local communities and the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage up-to-date and culturally relevant farming methods, and with UNICEF to promote 10 key health behaviors. Most of the listeners are farmers who make less than $1 a day, but many have reported surpluses after utilizing the techniques taught in Talking Book messages, allowing them to pay for health care or children’s education. These lessons, which can be delivered in the form of interviews, songs, dramas, or personal stories, are developed by expert partners, recorded, loaded in through a laptop, and updated every six weeks; then, community agents, or people who live in the communities, distribute the devices, and collect them again when time comes for the messages to be updated. Although Talking Books were originally sold to anyone, Literacy Bridge soon recognized the necessity of this strong infrastructure to continuously update the educational content in order for the device to be effective, so it has since partnered with organizations to distribute them to specific target communities. 

Literacy Bridge can also immediately see statistics on usage, such as how many hours a week a household listens to Talking Book or which messages on the device are listened to most often. In addition, Talking Book has a recording feature that allows users to request additional lessons on specific topics or leave their own messages and feedback that the implementers can listen to when the devices are collected.

One challenge is conveying to farmers that Talking Book provides information and raises awareness regarding effective farming techniques but does not provide the actual materials and resources (such as fertilizer) directly.

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