Impact of Low-Cost, On-Demand Information Access in a Remote Ghanaian Village

Cliff Schmidt, Trina Jean Gorman, Michael Shayne Gary, Andrew Azaabanye Bayor


Technology projects increasingly provide information to people living in rural poverty. However, using information to affect health or farming practices requires overcoming unique challenges, including illiteracy and lack of electricity. This article examines the effects of a low-cost audio computer (“Talking Book”)—a handheld device enabling users to create, listen to, and copy recordings—for improving learning and knowledge sharing in such environments. In northern Ghana, we studied the impact of giving rural people on-demand access to guidance created by local experts. Our evaluation shows Talking Books significantly impact learning, behavior change, and crop yields in a village with low literacy rates and no electricity.


information technology, international development, knowledge transfer, information dissemination, audio, illiteracy, low-cost technology, agriculture production, digital divide

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