Schmidt first visited the region in 2007, travelling with a local NGO and looking for solutions to its perennial challenges of education and literacy. The idea for the Talking Book came out of conversations with agriculture and health experts, who saw potential in using literacy aids for children to spread other content to hard-to-reach communities. At the time, thousands of man-hours were being poured into development projects that used cellphones as platforms, riding the wave of enthusiasm that accompanied the rapid spread of mobile telephony across Africa. Most of the devices that have reached the areas where Literacy Bridge and its partners work, however, are very basic feature phones, whose utility to spread on-demand messages is limited. Although more advanced solutions—such as equipping one person in the village with a smartphone to update the Talking Books remotely—are in the pipeline, Schmidt says that Literacy Bridge is more focused on understanding how the devices and their content is used to improve their effectiveness.

Sources : Forbes