E-Reading in Ghana: How far we’ve come
March 4, 2015 By Worldreader
The inauguration day finally came at the Kade SDA and Kade Islamic School. The entire Kade community was present to welcome their new library of digital books, a community brought together by their shared hope for a good future and commitment to providing their children with access to reading. Lots of reading– 10,000 e-books worth, to be precise.
Thanks to The Marple Charitable Trust, over 1,000 children are benefitting from this new e-reader program and their commitment to learning represents a promise of progress in their communities. And the local government got involved too. The Ghana Education Service of the Kwaebibirem District, where Kade is located, conducted the teacher training, implemented a baseline study for both schools and organized the entire launch.
This day marked another successful launch of e-readers in the country where it all began for Worldreader: Ghana.
Flashback five years to 2010, the year Worldreader carried out its first e-reader initiative at two schools in the eastern region of Ghana. At that time, we noted some key challenges. These had to be overcome if we were to introduce e-readers to schools and libraries around the world at a rapid rate. Here are some of the hindrances we observed in 2010 and how these have been mitigated over the course of our journey.
- Lack of local content
In 2010, lack of local content meant that the books we were offering, while compelling, were not always culturally relevant to the people we were serving. To make the most impact in classrooms we needed not only relevant storybooks, but also textbooks and supplementary materials to enhance teaching and learning. We now have over 15,000 e-books in 44 languages that cover over 70 different genres, including educational materials, and we are working endlessly, with local publishers, to grow and diversify our digital library.
- Integration of e-readers in everyday classroom
E-readers were quickly adopted by teachers and students in Ghana. Teachers especially were eager to teach with e-readers as they were tools that enabled the students to have access to thousands of books at the click of a button. Yet, we noticed teachers were seeking further guidance in e-reading lesson plans. With time, we developed a robust training protocol that focused on both the usage of the device and its effective incorporation into school activities. This has resulted in teachers, librarians and educators seamlessly transitioning from limited paper books to the convenience of an e-reader.
- Community involvement and sustainability
Community involvement is essential. In the world of international development, there is growing consensus that local action makes the greatest difference in people’s lives. Understanding the community needs, fostering collaboration within communities as we have done in the Kwaebibirem district, and enlisting them in a shared view of the future is crucial for the correct adoption, implementation and sustainability of our e-reader programs.
Today there are more than 8,229 people reading in Ghana thanks to 248,062 digital books on 1,597 e-readers distributed by Worldreader. In the last five years, we’ve worked with numerous schools and built relationships with local organizations, partners and entire communities in Ghana. It continues to be a hub for empowering readers through partnerships and now local governments too. We still have a long way to go before we get books to every child and her family, but when we look back at the last five years and the immense progress that has been made, it feels within reach. Especially in countries such as Ghana where schools, communities, governments and entire regions are supporting our work.
Interested in partnering with Worldreader? Learn more about how you can bring a Worldreader e-reading program to your classroom.