World Education, A Division of JSI
Field Testing Adobe Liquid Mode with Important Health Information
While Malawi has made progress in controlling the HIV epidemic, there are still 1.1 million Malawians who are living with HIV; 74,000 of them are children under 15. As part of the Bantwana Initiative, the Ana Patsogolo Activity focuses on those living with HIV but also on HIV-exposed infants born to parents with the virus and any children under age 18 in the household. World Education community case workers work with families, aiming to prevent transmission and create a supportive environment. Their comprehensive approach ensures that the services provided address the needs of all enrolled children.
Can reading technology help?
Readability Matters got to speak with the program leaders in the US office and in Malawi to learn more about the project.
Victoria Neff, Assistant Director of the EdTEch Center, began by explaining their previous work with digitized content to improve program outcomes. Since 2019, Victoria and Jen Vanek, Director of Digital Learning and Research, have partnered in Readability initiatives to advance the field of digital text readability. Their research focus is on the applied uses of technologies; they work to mitigate issues and improve opportunities for learners.
Pew Research reports that 15% of US adults are smartphone-dependent for accessing information online. In their work to support adult learners enrolled in English language, literacy, and vocational certification classes in the U.S., World Education worked to address the smartphone challenge that creates barriers to information.
World Education worked with adult learners, improving access to training material for Commercial Driver’s Licenses and nursing certifications. Their field testing of Adobe Reader Liquid Mode provided experience and context for the new project in Malawi. Key to the World Education digital implementation is Adobe Liquid Mode. Liquid Mode is a feature of Adobe Reader that makes it possible to reflow text when the user is reading a PDF on a mobile device. In addition to reflowing text on small screens, Liquid Mode also gives the reader control over font size, character spacing and line spacing, all features that have been shown to improve readability for individual readers.
In their latest project, World Education is again using award-winning Adobe Acrobat’s Liquid Mode as a critical tool in their approach to supporting families. They are transitioning from a paper-based system to a technology-based one, streamlining their workflow and allowing for more efficient information retrieval during house visits. The 19 binders of job aids used by the case workers are easier to transport in electronic form but also easier to search and navigate than the existing paper documents. The Bantwana Initiative is preventing new HIV infections and reducing vulnerability among children, adolescent girls and young women. Their goal is to empower 1200 local community case workers with digitized materials on smartphones for use in teaching and sharing important information with their clients.
The PEPFAR/USAID Funded Ana Patsogolo Activity (APA) led by World Education, provides wrap-around services to families of children living with HIV so that parents and caregivers can support their children, helping them stay healthy and thrive. Adolescent girls and young women make up over 70% of new HIV cases in Malawi. Many are child brides, sexual violence survivors, and young mothers. We are helping girls to stay HIV-free by delivering a layered package of support that includes life skills, HIV and sexual violence prevention, education and economic strengthening support, and positive parenting interventions for their caregivers.
The team reminded us that some countries had the opportunity to skip telephone line installations and deploy cellular phones. They noted that rather than deploying old digital text options requiring pinch and zoom to read the content, delivering information using PDF with Adobe Liquid Mode and better readability features is a similar leap forward. Rather than having to pinch and zoom, the text can reflow for the screen size and can be adjusted to support reader needs for increased size, character, or line spacing. “We see our case workers able to deliver more and better information in less time using this new model,” noted Elida Ganda, one of the field leaders working to deploy new solutions.
Naomi Reich, Senior Technical Advisor, described that the usual benefits of digitized materials are evident in this initiative. They include reducing the expense of producing paper documents that are easily damaged, easy updates as new information is available, the ability to efficiently transport increased amounts of information on a growing number of topics, including illustrations and engaging graphics, the ability to offer material in multiple local languages, etc. Additionally, family privacy is facilitated when case workers visit with only a smartphone rather than with binders of information.
“One of the additional benefits is efficiency: with the better search and navigation functionalities the digital content provide, the case workers can spend more time focused on the person they are helping or possibly see more clients in a day,” noted Chimwemwe Chiphe, the local leader responsible for program evaluation.
This transformative initiative would not be possible without the strong team World Education has assembled and its partnership with Adobe. Adobe Entrepreneur in Residence Rick Treitman has been an invaluable project sponsor.
World Education is excited about the potential to expand beyond the Malawi pilot into other contexts in the 60 countries that JSI serves. World Education is seeking grants and other partners to scale this work across the 1200 community case workers, touching the lives of thousands of families and children in Malawi and then beyond into other eastern African countries. To get involved, contact Victoria Neff.
Join the hundreds of millions of users reading PDFs using Adobe Reader with Liquid Mode; download the Adobe Acrobat Reader for mobile devices on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
About Elida Ganda: Elida is a Case Management Specialist at World Education’s Bantwana Initiative in Malawi.
About Jen Vanek: Jen is the Director of Digital Learning and Research at World Education.
About Victoria Neff: Victoria is the Assistant Director of the EdTEch Center at World Education.
About Naomi Reich Naomi is the Senior Technical Advisor at World Education for the Bantwana Initiative.
About the EdTech Center at World Education: The EdTech Center is creating a world in which every learner and teacher has access and skills to use digital solutions and technology tools. The team helps to identify, design, implement, evaluate, and promote best practices in leveraging technology responsibly to accelerate impact.