Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY for All)
DAISY is a digital standard where books and other reading materials are recorded in order for them to be played back in audio form as a tool for education, inclusion and empowerment. DAISY Digital talking books are a form of Information Communication Technology (ICT) that is contributing to development in Bangladesh. Approximately forty percent of people in Bangladesh are illiterate or print disabled (unable to read printed materials). Accessible information has not been available to this group; their information rights have not been recognized and therefore have not been adequately met. Production of DAISY books helps bridge the digital divide, ensuring better access to information for; people with print disabilities, language minorities in a community, indigenous populations who do not have their own script, and those who are illiterate. There are instances in Bangladesh where ICTs such as Digital talking books have proved successful in improving the lives of DAISY’s target group, socially and economically. A computer, an MP3 player, a multimedia mobile telephone or a CD player can be used to play back DAISY books. YPSA IRCD has partnered with a number of organisations and donors to make over 450 Digital talking book publications covering subjects from HIV and AIDS education to information about United Nations Conventions and local laws. IRCD is the only center to date producing DAISY books in Bangladesh.
What we deliver
IRCD is able to approach funding authorities and request monies for particular projects. Such projects are based on identified needs as the IRDC keeps an updated list from members about topics they would like in future publications. Members also include community organisations with which IRCD liaises, in this way IRCD attempts to assess locally based needs for our product. DAISY standard Digital Talking Books published to date cover subjects from HIV and AIDS education to information about United Nations Conventions, local laws, agriculture and university text books. Digital Talking Dramas produced include child marriage, mushroom cultivation, swine flu and divorce. Each published subject area contributes to engagement, education and empowerment of the audience through the provision of accessible information.
Whom we deliver
Users are invited to give feedback about the product and this feedback is used to review the product and make any needed changes to the product. A local man who makes his living begging listened to a publication about a United Nations Convention. After listening this man asked a staff member what is the meaning of the bangla word which had been used to translate “Convention”. The staff member explained the meaning and asked the man if there was another local word that could be better used. The man and the staff member agreed on an alternative and the publication was then edited to include the alternative descriptive word. The Centre’s staff have conducted 1 on 1 interviews with members and held focus groups. The purpose of these activities is to refine our existing product and plan for future need. The actual action of listening to the audio is interactive as the audience member controls its delivery; stopping and starting content. Users can easily navigate the content they would like to listen to, or exit from.
Why is the project unique?
Although IRCD is aware that in other developing countries there are a number of organisations producing DAISY Digital Talking books, our Center is the first to do so in Bangladesh. This is thanks to our partnerships with other organisations. Our first targeted users were persons with disabilities and then IRCD rolled the project out for other groups such as persons with low literacy and indigenous people who do not have any script. The development of DAISY Digital Talking Drama provided a means for engaging a broader audience, as has the use of community radio to play DAISY publications. IRCD has immediate community access through village field workers engaged in different community projects. The field workers endorse our project and invite people to come to tele centres to listen to the publications. Field workers have used mobile telephones to play back relevant segments of Digital Talking Books. This ensures that those who need such information can receive it. By working cooperatively with existing programs and differing technology IRCD has effective community access in innovative ways. The previously mentioned Award recognised the innovation of our project.
IRCD’s vision is that all study and general printed materials are made available in an accessible format to the print disabled. As a direct result of the availability of such materials, the Centre envisions that digital content will play a role in facilitating employment opportunities for the print disabled and people with low literacy. Lack of education for such people hinders their social inclusion and limits their opportunities for economic success. Promoting opportunities for education and information dispersal is a way of influencing change in society’s perception of such people and promoting their inclusion in the economic and social fabric of their communities. To gain access to the Digital Age our target groups need ICT tools such as DAISY. IRCD would like to partner with other interested organisations within Bangladesh to create a network producing DAISY Digital Talking Books. Such a network will ensure a greater range of publications are made available as well as providing a wider decision forum for future resource planning. For example an organisation in another region, Rajshahi Division, may have very different needs from those of the Chittagong Divisions Community. Local organisations have a better idea of community need, better ability to engage members and effective ways to ensure the spread of accessible information via ICT.
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) – Information, Communication and Technology Resource Centre
House #10(P), Road 13- Block B, Chandgoan, Residential Area, Chittagong
Chittagong, Bangladesh – 4212
URL/Website – www.ypsa.org