Talking Book

Amplio’s Talking Book is a durable, low-cost audio device, designed for the learning needs of illiterate people in the world’s hardest-to-reach communities.

The Challenge

Around the world, governments, development organizations, and businesses committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda are on a mission to end poverty, promote equality, and protect the planet. However, they are often simply not able to reach the most vulnerable people. Barriers such as geographical remoteness, low literacy, and traditional gender roles can limit the scope, scale, and effectiveness of sustainable development programs.

Project Aims

Amplio’s Talking Book Program is a proven method to share targeted, vital information with people who can’t read and who live in communities without electricity in rural areas of developing countries. The program includes Talking Book leasing and support, content design and production, technology deployment and training, program management, and monitoring and evaluation. The Talking Book audio device runs on locally available batteries. Users have access to a library of engaging, actionable content in their local dialect, which they can replay as often as they want. A built-in speaker allows people to listen in groups. Detailed analysis of user feedback and usage statistics helps organizations gain a better understanding of the issues communities face, make their messages more effective, and improve program outcomes.

Predicted Outcomes

Amplio’s technology, program services, and network of in-country affiliates empower global partners to share knowledge with the world’s hardest-to-reach communities and give people the power to transform their lives. Since 2007, Talking Book programs have reached nearly 500,000 people in Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya to deliver vital messages and information about health, agriculture, sanitation, value chains, gender equity, and more.

Talking Books enable organizations to:

  • Reach communities that lack cell phone and WiFi coverage
  • Increase the diversity of people reached, including women and girls
  • Strengthen existing community outreach systems
  • Empower illiterate people to learn and retain knowledge
  • Promote new skills and shift attitudes and behaviors
  • Gain a deeper understanding of community issues and need
  • Use data to improve programs and outcomes

Sample Talking Book Program outcomes in Northern Ghana:

  • A randomized, controlled study showed that people using the Talking Book were 50% more likely to sleep under bed nets every night than the control group.
  • Farmers using the Talking Book increased their total crop production by an average of 48%, compared to a decrease of 5% by nonusers.
  • Families who listened to Talking Books were 50% more likely to wash their hands with soap.

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