Journalists Visit Talking Book Villages

July 14th, 2015

journalists meda  meda blog 1

Thank you to our wonderful partner MEDA and our ICT Manager, Andy,  for sitting down with international journalists last week and taking them to Suke Village to see first hand how rural women farmers use the Talking Book!

Literacy Bridge partners with MEDA through their Greater Opportunities for Rural Woman (GROW) project to provide Talking Books to Ghanaian women in order to train them on gender, agriculture, nutrition, health and more.



Summer 2015 Update

July 13th, 2015


Making an Impact: From washed bowls to equal opportunities

“Before receiving the Talking Book I dare not even talk to my husband concerning men-women relations. At first he did not show any interest in listening to the Talking Book so I started playing it anytime he was eating dinner. He showed a lot of interest in the agriculture aspect. The first day I tuned into the gender messages; he laughed a lot and we argued a lot. The next day he asked to listen to the messages on gender again. We began to discuss how joint-decision making and reviewing the workload can help all of us. I was surprised when he asked our sons to always wash their bowls anytime they finish eating.”


Scaling the Impact: New partnerships with MEDA and CARE

We have expanded our partnership with MEDA from a pilot reaching 30 women’s groups to a program reaching more than 600 groups within MEDA’s GROW project! MEDA is one of Canada’s top international economic development organizations; their Greater Opportunities for Rural Woman (GROW) project aims to increase food security for families in Ghana’s Upper West Region by helping increase availability, access and utilization of nutritional food through strengthening production and market linkages, increasing diversification in production and creating nutrition awareness.

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We are also excited to announce the launch of our new partnership with CARE in the Upper East Region of Ghana, a new region for Literacy Bridge. CARE worked in 90 countries last year and reached more than 72 million people around the world; their Pathways to Empowerment program is funded by the Gates Foundation and aims to empower women through agriculture by encouraging equitable agricultural systems and increasing the productivity of women smallholder farmers. Our Talking Book program is providing women’s groups with information on agriculture, marketing, nutrition and gender.

Attracting Global Interest: Selected as finalist for Qatar Foundation award

Out of hundreds of applicants, the Qatar Foundation selected Literacy Bridge as one of 15 finalists for its World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Awards, which recognizes education projects from around the globe for their innovative approach to solve the real-world obstacles to education. The Qatar Foundation was founded by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to support education, science and research, and community development. The six WISE Awards winning projects will be announced in September. Read about Literacy Bridge on the WISE Awards website here.

GiveBIG 2015 Day of Champions

May 4th, 2015

We need your help tomorrow! From midnight to midnight (Pacific Time) on May 5th, The Seattle Foundation will host its fifth annual GiveBIG. We are excited to announce that Literacy Bridge has been selected by Global Washington and Seattle International Foundation (SIF) to receive a special challenge grant because of our dedication in working to improve lives in rural Africa.

If Literacy Bridge raises at least $2,500, SIF will match that amount at $2,500. In other words, if Literacy Bridge receives at least $2,500 in donations on May 5, we will get an additional $2,500, PLUS the funds raised through the stretch pool! If you planned on donating to Literacy Bridge this year, tomorrow is the day to do it!

We believe the world’s most vulnerable communities have a right to critical health and agriculture education, which is why we are happy to accept the GiveBIG Global Challenge. We are thrilled to say that each donation made to Literacy Bridge through the Seattle Foundation website tomorrow May 5th, will help the poorest and hardest to reach populations in the world receive access to life-saving knowledge. Become a champion tomorrow and give BIG!

The 2015 WISE Awards Finalists Have Been Announced!

Literacy Bridge’s Talking Book Program has been shortlisted for the 2015 WISE Awards. The WISE Awards program recognizes education projects from around the globe for their innovative approach to solve the real-world obstacles to education. The six WISE Awards winning projects will be announced in September 2015! Read about Literacy Bridge on the WISE Awards website here.

Ghana’s Best Farmers Are Talking Book Users!

December 15th, 2014

by Fidelis Da-uri

Farmer's Day

Six Out of Eight Farmers Day Awards Go to Talking Book Users

In 2012, we had two Talking Book users win Best Farmer Awards. In 2013 there were three Talking Book users who won awards. And now we are very pleased to announce we had six Talking Book users win farming awards in 2014! Read about each winner below – video interviews coming soon! (Also learn about the history of Farmers Day and the award criteria by scrolling down).

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$15,000 Global Program Grant Awarded From Seattle International Foundation

November 21st, 2014


We have more exciting news – for the 5th time Literacy Bridge has been chosen as a recipient of Seattle International Foundation’s Global Program grant! Literacy Bridge was awarded the maximum amount of $15,000 to use toward our Health Behavior Change program in Ghana over the course of 2015.

I am pleased to write to you today with good news — SIF’s board just approved a grant of $15,000 to support Literacy Bridge’s Health Behavior Change program in rural Ghana. SIF is proud to continue supporting Literacy Bridge’s work.” – Ashley Skoch, Program and Operations Associate, Seattle International Foundation

By providing direct financial support to local non-profits working internationally, SIF supports poverty alleviation efforts around the globe, as well as enhancing Washington State’s global development sector.

Grant recipients were announced at SIF’s 5th annual Women of the World event in Seattle yesterday, where Literacy Bridge team members attended. Stay tuned to our social media channels for photos from the event!

To learn more about SIF and the grants they award, please visit their website.

Literacy Bridge Partners with UNICEF and ARM!

November 20th, 2014


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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

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Month 1 – Hugging Pineapples

October 29th, 2014

Kristin is a Field Advisor for Literacy Bridge. She currently lives and works in Jirapa, Upper West, Ghana providing guidance to the Literacy Bridge field team on programmatic work and operations.

Kristin with a few of members of the LB team

Kristin with a Few Literacy Bridge Ghana Team Members

On September 16 I groggily arrived in Accra after a fifteen hour flight from LA to Dubai and a seven hour flight from Dubai to Accra. On the plane, right as the wheels touched down, a group of about ten Ghanaian men started singing in harmony. At first I thought the airline was playing gospel music to welcome us and then I turned around and realized the sound was coming from the back of the plane. The singing got louder and more spirited, largely ignoring the flustered Emirates flight attendants who were frantically trying to keep a sense of decorum as more people joined in. I laughed, happily breathed in the music and thought…it’s good to be in Ghana.

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Literacy Bridge awarded $25,000 Reinvestment Grant from Microsoft Alumni Foundation

October 20th, 2014
Cliff Schmidt MSAF $25,000 Reinvestment Grant

Satya Nadella, Jeff Raikes, Steve Ballmer, Trish Millines Dziko, Richard Gold, Cliff Schmidt

On October 20, 2014, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation (MSAF) announced Literacy Bridge as a recipient of one of three Integral Fellows Program reinvestment grants. Literacy Bridge will receive $25,000 to grow its Talking Book Program, which delivers local-language audio recordings on health and agriculture topics to rural villages in northern Ghana.

The Integral Fellows Award recognizes and supports Microsoft alumni who are making meaningful differences in the daily lives of others by using their talents, time and resources to contribute to the world, whether on a local, regional, national, or global scale.

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Farming in Ridges: Our Most Powerful Agriculture Message Yet

October 14th, 2014

Hi! My name is Fred Braimah, a Field Manager at the Literacy Bridge office in Ghana.

Fred Photo

In Ghana, especially in the Jirapa district of the Upper West Region, about 65% of the total population depends on farming for a living. However farming in the Jirapa district over the past years has been faced with numerous challenges, such as lack of infrastructure (telephone, electricity, road network etc.), inadequate financial power, illiteracy (majority of these farmers cannot read or write in any language), limited number of extension workers (the ratio of agricultural extension workers to farmers is low), poor radio and TV reception in most villages, and more.

To improve farming and increase productivity, the Ghana Food and Agriculture Development Policy (FASDEP) has identified educating farmers to adapt to new and advance techniques of farming and increased agriculture extension services as some of the best ways to improve agriculture production in Ghana. However due to the low number of agricultural extension workers, some farmers have never seen an agriculture extension officer. In addressing this, Literacy Bridge’s Talking Book Program is acting as an intermediary between the farmers and agricultural extension workers.

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Meet Kristin, Literacy Bridge’s New Field Advisor

September 10th, 2014

Hello Literacy Bridge family!

My name is Kristin Bongaard, I’ve been recently hired as Literacy Bridge’s new Field Advisor. This is a short-term position based in Jirapa created to aid the Ghana program team – particularly the Ghana Program Officer, the Ghana Field Manager and the US Program Director – in managing the coordination, implementation and development of the Talking Book Programme in Jirapa as the program scales up over the next year.

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I will be moving to Jirapa in late September and I couldn’t be more excited to work with the talented and dedicated staff who have brought the Talking Book and its life saving messages to people in need. I am proud to be a part of such a dynamic and successful team and I can’t wait to join them as we continue to grow the program.

I come to Literacy Bridge from PATH, an international non-profit focused on global health innovation. My interest in international development started at the age of 17 when on an exchange program to China I stopped in a rural village and saw women washing clothes in the muddy water that ran down the side of the road. As a young woman the disparity between the opportunities I had in my life and those of the women in this village made an impression on me and sparked a lifelong interest in development and human rights. Part of what drew me to Literacy Bridge so many years after that experience in China is the positive impact the organization has on women and children. In addition, the organization’s devotion to improving the lives of farmers really struck a chord with me as I come from a farming family. I grew up on a small farm in North Carolina and my father’s family have been farmers for generations in Mississippi where I spent many of my childhood summers tending to chickens, cattle, horses, and goats (I’ve developed a talent for picking vegetables, carrying feed sacks and mucking stalls over the years!). Agriculture and nutrition are a passion of mine and I was thrilled to find an organization like Literacy Bridge that combines my interests in health and farming.

This is the first of what I hope will be many blog entries as I catalogue my experiences in Ghana over the next nine months. I’m eternally grateful to the field team and the Literacy Bridge headquarters staff that have done so much to make my journey there possible.

Stay tuned for more updates when I land and get settled in Jirapa!