| October 20, 2010

Back from Ghana with News and Tips


Colin meeting some students who are happy about Kindles!

Zev and Colin were in Ghana last week and here’s a quick update.  After an intense week, we are on track for the iRead pilot study to launch as planned during the second week of November.   You can’t imagine how complicated the logistics are!  The Kindle is a wonderful, life-changing device but it is made for a single user to unpack, set-up and begin uploading content.  The device in volume, however, is a whole different story.  Any day now the Kindles will arrive from abroad and we will need to unpack them, register each one per student for tracking purposes, upload content, outfit them with a M-Edge jacket and reading light–all before distributing them to different schools in Ghana.  Other details include getting connectivity, training teachers, preparing students, getting evaluators in place to test literacy rates, and thousands of other things.

Worldreader.org has made a significant decision after talking to our impact evaluators to increase our trial coverage by 50%.  That is to say, we will also cover younger Primary students as well as Junior and Senior Secondary students. Why?  Because we want to make this trial the most comprehensive it can possibly be before scaling up.  It makes perfect sense too- since reading habits are impacted by age.   Having access to books at a younger age might make a noticeable difference in increasing literacy rates.  While it means more work, we are really excited about this decision.  Joseph, our man on the ground,  has reacted immediately to this by quickly collecting all the necessary data we need from the field (not an easy task).

In his free moments, Colin has been tweeting his Top 5 Tips for NGOs…. I guess, once an educator, always an educator!

1. Learn how to ask for money and help from closest friends. Sounds easier than it is, but involve them.

2. Bring new ideas to development but read the history as well… In that order!

3. Decide if are you an NGO or a social enterprise. Big difference!

4. A well-selected Advisory Board can open doors you didn’t know existed.

5. Maybe a great idea but it’s still all about you and what YOU can deliver. Funders don’t give money to ideas, they fund people.

You can follow him on twitter for the second installment.

Joseph introducing the Kindle to teachers at Presby Junior High

More news soon!