Written by Shichen Liu and Xingru Tao, Literacy Bridge Communications Interns and University of Washington 2013 Evans School candidates in Public Affairs
In each community that we are in, we hire and train a local resident as our community agent to coordinate the Talking Book Program. Along with a number of duties such as managing the household rotation of Talking Books throughout the village, community agents conduct informational interviews with the residents to assess their experiences with and thoughts about the Talking Book.
Here are some excerpts from the community agents’ monthly reports.
What do people generally like about the current messages on the Talking Book?
“Information about the protective measures on health issues (pregnant mothers should be delivered to hospitals or health facility)” — from Zengpeni Community Agent
“They learn about the new method of farming…and how to protect themselves against diseases and how to protect pregnant women…they also like the ways of protecting their animals against diseases” — from Yibile Community Agent
“New method of farming, proper seed sowing, how to protect animals from diseases, the way of keeping ourselves from malaria” — from Yibile Community Agent
“Generally, all the messages on the Talking Book are welcomed” — from Ving Ving Community Agent
Describe how the households are using the TB?
“Most of the households use the Talking Book at home after they return from farm work. Usually men like to carry it everywhere and women listen to it with their children.” —from Beehee Community Agent
“About 65% of households listen together during meal time every evening and mostly wives listen to the Talking Book device with children…. “—from Duori Degri Community Agent
Please describe the problems that people are having with the Talking Book
“Some members of the household have trouble identifying the symbols on [the face of] the Talking Book.” – from Gozu Community Agent
Editor’s Note: There are no words in Dagaare for “arrow”, which is currently used on the face of the Talking Book. User feedback has resulted in a new faceplate icon, which incorporates symbols that are easily recognizable to the families in our Talking Book communities.
Talking Book Success Stories
“Some households do not always want to give back [the Talking Book] and always told me to give them another day because some of them do not have a radio, and add to that, the information given to farmers are not always being presented on radio.” “For those who do not have radios in the house, it gives them the chance to the new method of farming” — from Yibile Community Agent
“People adopted the good ways of farming, e.g. plowing and sowing maize in lanes…It brings household together because people come together and share ideas about the Talking Book…” — from Ving Ving Community Agent
This feedback compiled by our community agents helps us understand the strengths of the Talking Book Program as well as uncover the areas that can be improved upon so that we can better serve our Talking Book communities.