Stuff We Love: Worldreader
1. What is Worldreader? Where is its focus?
Worldreader is a registered Not for Profit NGO (Spain & USA) whose mission is to bring digital books to all in the developing world. Where 200 million children in Africa have never owned a book, we are transforming reading by using new technology to not only deliver e-books, but bring new and exciting books from both International and African authors and publishers. We use both Wifi and 3G networks to deliver books to e-readers in some of the most remote communities of sub-saharan Africa.
2. How does access to literature help underdeveloped countries?
There are 3 components needed for a community or country to be self sustaining. Health & Nutrition, Shelter, and Education. All parts are integral to a community’s development and sustainability. Through our digital e-readers, we are bringing a whole library of books: educational books, story books, and health and nutrition books to these communities. In providing books that interest students we are working towards 3 goals: immediate impact is enjoyment and education needs, middle term is developing a culture of reading and keeping kids in schools and long term creating a new culture of reading and providing these kids with new opportunities for jobs and careers. We are also working with local African authors and publishers to help them develop their digital business and reach.
3. How do e-readers help maximize your impact?
Each e-reader has a capacity to hold up to 3,000 digital books. In our first 12 months we had sent 50,000 e-books, after 14 months we had sent 76,000 e-books and after 24 months we have now send over 210,000 e-books. It is our mission to deliver over 1 Million e-books by the end of 2013 - a feat that can only be accomplished with modern technology.
4. How is the success of Worldreader measured?
When Worldreader first began, we launched 400 e-readers into Ghana. Through continuous Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Worldreader wanted to ensure that this program did in fact help increase the volume of reading, the speed at which kids were reading and the test scores in their curriculum. This study and testing was named the I-Read program. Worldreader continues its efforts with the I-read program in Ghana and continues to work on M&E programs. However, we also work with Partnering organizations to launch other e-reader projects in other countries, all the while sharing the success and learnings from I-read. Key metrics are also the number of e-readers we have on the ground as well as the number of e-books sent to the devices in our programs.
5. Any upcoming projects or advancements to be expected in the future?
In September 2012 Worldreader won the ”All Children Reading: Grand Challenge for Development” Award from USAID. The grant, which will be for up to $300,000, allows us to build on our previous work in Ghana; provide additional books and educational materials in local Ghanaian language and English; expand after-school reading activities, and, of course, measure the impact Kindles have on literacy. Worldreader is also partnering with several organizations to expand our breath into: Tanzania (Nov-2012), South Africa (Jan-2013) Ethiopia (Jan 2013). We are also currently working with the Ministry of Education for the Cote D’Ivore to develop a pilot program of 400 E-readers for their curriculum.
6. How can people get involved?
Worldreader has offices in Barcelona and San Francisco and as we work in a digital environment we have many great volunteers worldwide - individuals interested in our organization can contact us through our website at http://www.worldreader.org/about-us/contact-us/