Over the past year, CARE Pathways has implemented a pilot of the Talking Book into VSLA groups in order to better share extension, marketing, and gender messages to farmers in the Upper East region of Ghana. The Talking Book is essentially an audio computer that can be easily modified and loaded with recordings on whatever topic is desired. It is a product designed by Literacy Bridge, and with the conclusion of the one-year pilot the Pathways program hopes to determine how useful the technology was to the farmers as well as the impact the technology has had in the Pathways focus areas of gender and agriculture.
During my internship in Ghana, I have been conducting interviews and group discussions with members of the VSLA groups in eight communities that have been using the Talking Book. Thus far, the feedback has been largely positive. Community members report learning many new agricultural techniques and methods for preserving their harvests and making a larger profit. Each community group I have spoken with has demonstrated ownership of the Talking Book by suggesting other types of messages that would be useful to them, and sharing their rotational sharing of the technology for when a group member wants to bring it to their home for further listening.
I look forward to compiling my data and sharing it along with recommendations for the technology with CARE by the end of the summer.
Contributed by: Sarah Turkaly