The Talking Books is a pilot project that will bring 2,000 handheld audio computers to some of the poorest communities in Ghana.
Literacy Bridge is a charity that attempts to “empower children and adults with tools for knowledge sharing and literacy learning, as an effective means towards advancing education, health, economic development, democracy, and human rights”. Currently employing staff in Ghana, they launched the initiative the Talking Book. The Talking Books is a pilot project that will bring 2,000 handheld audio computers to some of the poorest communities in Ghana.
Should the pilot project be successful, it would expand. Currently, Unicef, a child-focused charity, and ARM, a UK computer chip designer, are providing the majority funding for the $750,000 project. The Talking Books will undergo a two and a half year period, with each device being updated once every five weeks. The hope is that with the money, it will cover approximately 2,000 handheld devices, and will cover the cost of support staff. Ideally, the outreach is about 40,000 people.
The hope is that the handheld devices, which are small and durable, will be able to educate illiterate populations on life-saving subjects, including informational material on Ebola, crops, breastfeeding and other topics. The handheld device plays sound files and allows the users to make their own recordings. This means that while the listener will receive helpful information, the Talking Books has partnered with local experts that will help distribute and record the material in their native dialects. Additionally, the ability to record their own audios, and copy the audio files from one device to another, will not only help build a strong educational community, but the new technology and information can be spread anywhere. They can also rely their own ideas, and the audio speed can be adjusted, which will be helpful for those learning to read. Each device will have approximately 35 to 140 hours of listening time, and they can repeat it as often as necessary, for themselves or friends and family.