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the literacy ledgerReflections, findings, stories and the lowdown

Expanding our impact to new communities

November 17, 2011 By

Every day, Worldreader receives e-mails and inquiries from groups interested in implementing e-reader programs like ours. For sometime we have been working on a way to extend our reach and respond to these requests, because like us these groups understand that e-readers have the potential to utterly change the way the developing world reads. By forming partnerships with those who share our passion and goals we can make more books accessible to more children. Presently, we are in the process of beginning a program that would make such partnerships possible.

The global interest we are seeing from potential partners echoes the conviction we had early on that the e-reader was the solution to an ongoing problem in the developing world, that of a lack of reading material.  A single device can contain thousands of books, magazines and newspapers and new items can be added in seconds anywhere there is a cellphone signal. In addition to these obvious benefits e-readers often contain built in dictionaries and text to speech capabilities that make learning new words easier. Not only does this mean a better education for countless students, this might mean the beginning of a revolution in publishing for the developing world. Digital publishing promises to open up new and exciting markets in regions plagued by high transportation costs and low literacy rates.

Worldreader therefore brings e-readers into schools in impoverished parts of the developing world. To do this we work with the local government, the schools in question and the communities they reside in. We also work with local and international publishers to fill the e-readers with relevant and exciting material.

Through our iREAD project in Ghana  we have to date distributed over 60,000 books and have seen impressive results: children in classes with e-readers read more, their fluency increases quickly, and the teachers and community are extraordinarily enthusiastic to expand the program.  We believe these results can extend throughout the developing world and that a partnership model is the best way to make this happen.

In fact we already have strong evidence that a successful partnership model is possible. Earlier this year we partnered with The Kilgoris Project at Ntimigom School in Kenya to map out how partner projects in the future could work.  Six months in, we are seeing impressive results, detailed in this report.

With the success of our partnership in Kenya, we are ready to begin reaching out to other organizations. If you would be interested in becoming one of Worldreader’s partners, we’d like to hear from you, if you meet all of the following criteria:

1)   You represent a Primary school in the developing world with flexibility, enthusiasm, and operational support.   Implementing a program with new technology will not be without its challenges. We are looking for teachers and team members with agility, adaptability and passion.

2)   You have a qualified local implementation and project management team with sufficient technical skills to run the program, as well as access to electricity.  Either WiFi or GSM mobile-phone coverage is important for receiving new content.

3)   You can fund this project 100%. Worldreader provides discounted hardware, training and support expertise, and access to hundreds of books, but we do not provide direct funding to partners. For budgeting purposes, you should plan on allocating about $300 per device (including the discounted costs of hardware and books, cases, training, and support) in direct costs.

In addition to the above prerequisites, Worldreader will prioritize applicants with established relationships with local government and publishers.

If you meet the above criteria and would like to become a Worldreader Partner please fill out our application form here.

If you have any questions about this post or the application process please email: partners@worldreader.org.

We look forward to hearing from you. Books for All!