Literacy Bridge, UNICEF, and ARM Unite to Help 40,000 People Living in Extreme Poverty
SEATTLE, WA November 20, 2014 – As the United Nations marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, humanitarian technology company Literacy Bridge has announced a new multi-year partnership with UNICEF and ARM to deliver health education to 40,000 vulnerable people in Ghana. The announcement comes on the day the UN General Assembly meets in New York to discuss how it can use innovative approaches to make the vision of the Convention a reality for all children.
Literacy Bridge’s new partnership with UNICEF, the United Nations agency dedicated to the rights and wellbeing of children, and ARM, the company designing processor technology for the world’s most advanced digital products is focused around delivering life-saving maternal and child health information in Ghana’s most remote villages. The project will utilize Talking Book mobile devices to serve around 40,000 people immediately, with an ambition to double that reach within a year. Talking Books were developed in 2007 by Literacy Bridge to give people without literacy skills access to audio recordings of interviews, songs, and dramas that address life-saving health and agriculture advice.
This critical collaboration will expand Literacy Bridge’s Health Behavior Change Program to help approximately 50 of Ghana’s poorest communities. The team will assess the project’s impact on several behavior change objectives, including:
- • Ebola and cholera prevention and treatment options
- • Treatment of diarrhea in children using Oral Rehydration Solutions
- • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life
- • Identifying and treating diseased crops
- • Creating and applying organic fertilizer using manure from livestock
- • The importance of planting seeds in rows of beds instead of mounds
“Literacy Bridge’s Talking Book Program is an innovative use of low-cost, mobile technology to influence critical behaviors that impact the lives and opportunities of the most vulnerable and excluded children,” said UNICEF Ghana Country Representative Susan Namondo Ngongi. “We are pleased to partner on the Behavior Change Program because of its potential to immediately help tens of thousands of people who are the most difficult to reach due to illiteracy, lack of electricity, and geographic isolation.”
ARM and UNICEF are providing most of the financial support for this $750,000 project. ARM, an existing supporter, is also collaborating with Literacy Bridge to reduce technology costs and further improve the energy efficiency of the Talking Books as they utilize ARM processor technology.
“Literacy Bridge set out to design a mobile platform that took account of the challenges often found in the developing world including the availability of power,” said Dominic Vergine, Director of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at ARM. “The focus was on delivering quality local language education in the most energy-efficient way. Re-purposing existing technology wasn’t a viable option but Literacy Bridge’s new approach with the Talking Books is succeeding and early trials of the technology have shown huge potential for both philanthropic and business benefit.”
“This expansion is an important step in testing the scale of our program. With UNICEF’s leadership in the issues that affect the lives of children, and with ARM’s leadership in using technology to create a better world, we couldn’t have a better pair of partners as we look towards reaching millions of children in the coming years,” Cliff Schmidt, Founder and Executive Director of Literacy Bridge.
Health: A mother living in the Upper West Region of Ghana talks about her experience with Talking Books and how she learned to prevent Malaria.
Agriculture: A Ghanaian farmer also living in the Upper West Region of Ghana describes the increased crop yield he has experienced by using agriculture lessons taught by Talking Books.
ARM is at the heart of the world’s most advanced digital products. Our technology enables the creation of new markets and transformation of industries and society. We design scalable, energy efficient-processors and related technologies to deliver the intelligence in applications ranging from sensors to servers, including smartphones, tablets, enterprise infrastructure and the Internet of Things. Our innovative technology is licensed by ARM Partners who have shipped some 60 billion Systems on Chip (SoCs) containing our intellectual property since the company began in 1990. Together with our Connected Community, we are breaking down barriers to innovation for developers, designers and engineers, ensuring a fast, reliable route to market for leading electronics companies. Learn more and join the conversation at http://community.arm.com.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything they do. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. Together with their partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
About Literacy Bridge
Literacy Bridge’s mission is to empower the world’s most underserved communities with life-saving and life-changing knowledge to reduce poverty and disease using innovative technology. To serve this mission, the organization has developed the Talking Book, an innovative, low-cost, digital audio player and recorder for people who are illiterate. Talking Book users gain access to locally relevant knowledge on health and agriculture, and are able to make their voices heard by recording feedback directly into each Talking Book. Literacy Bridge collaborates with local governments, businesses, and other nonprofits to develop and distribute such content.
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