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5 Tips to Amplify Your Reach with Amplio Talking Books

Community facilitators  in northern Ghana try out their Talking Books - ICOWASH 2.0 project, Catholic Relief Services
Photo: ICOWASH 2.0 project, Catholic Relief Services

Program officer Gilbert Nkpeniyeng shares his tips for creating relevant, quality audio content

We recently interviewed Amplio Ghana program officer Gilbert Nkpeniyeng about the design and implementation of the AVID project. Funded by STAR-Ghana Foundation, the initiative is using Amplio Talking Books to train and empower rural women in Lambussie District to improve their shea butter quality, marketing, and income.

We asked Gilbert what advice he would give to someone who wants to use Amplio Talking Books for a similar project. Here's what he said:

"The Amplio Talking Book is an amazing tool! It's an inclusive digital technology that can fit into almost every development project where knowledge sharing is a required factor, especially if you are working with people who have low literacy. Our dual approach of hands-on training plus digital knowledge-sharing, as seen in the AVID project, is just a stunning, effective approach one could consider in similar projects."

According to Gilbert, here are a few considerations if you're interested in using Amplio's technology to amplify your reach in rural communities:

1. Understand the Target Audience

Before diving into the project, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience, including values, sensitive topics, and taboos. The Amplio Talking Book device is designed to reach communities with limited access to written resources and other forms of "modern" media, but you also need to consider the specific needs, preferences, and cultural aspects of your audience.

2. Content Selection and Adaptation

Choose content that is relevant, engaging, and appropriate for your target audience(s). If you're adapting existing content, ensure that it is suitable for an audio format and that your messages make sense without visual cues. When creating audio content for Talking Book programs, Amplio Ghana produces a mix of songs, dramas, and interviews, as well as endorsement messages from local leaders and influencers.

Recording an audio drama for a Talking Book project in northern Ghana.
Recording an audio drama for a Talking Book project. Photo: Amplio Ghana

3. Clear Narration and Voice Talent

As with producing community radio or a podcast, quality narration and voice-over talent are crucial for the success of a Talking Book program. Ensure that narrators have clear diction, read at a suitable pace, and can convey emotions. I have recorded audio content for Amplio on many different topics and projects, including songs and dramas, and I love doing it. I credit my mentor, Fidelis Da-uri, Amplio Ghana’s senior content strategist, for enabling those opportunities.

4. Localization and Local Languages

If your target audience speaks different languages or dialects, consider localizing the content to reach a broader audience. This includes using regional accents, localizing cultural references, and providing translations when necessary. As a best practice, we always recommend recording the messages in the beneficiary’s own language, even if you have to record more than one language for your project due to diversity.

[Editor's note: Talking Book programs often have audio content in more than one language or dialect to meet the needs of target audiences.]

5. Audio Recording Equipment

You will also want to have good audio recording devices and equipment, such as a mic or the best budget clip-on lavalier to ensure audio clarity. Try to reduce background noise when you are recording. If you have access to a recording studio, that's a bonus! Ultimately, the volume and clarity of your audio files (i.e., the mp3 or wav files that you upload to Amplio's audio content manager (ACM) software) will impact the message quality and performance of your Talking Book content.


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