World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Founded 2010
Founder David Risher, Colin McElwee
Type Non-governmental organization
Focus Creating education opportunities and reading cultures in Africa and Asia.
Area served
Africa, Asia, South America
Key people
David Risher, Colin McElwee
Slogan Books for all
Mission To unlock the potential of millions of people through the use of digital books in places where access to reading material is very limited.

Worldreader is a

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^


Project LEAP, a pilot program implemented by the organization in partnership with eight public and community libraries in Western Kenya, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tested the use, function and adoption of e-readers in selected libraries to determine how e-readers affect library patronage, communities, staff, policies and procedures. The primary impacts of the program included a threefold increase in library visits, from 10,442 to 29,023 patrons per month, 254 library-initiated community events and 84% of patrons reported reading more.[26]

[25] is particularly popular with women, who spend on average 207 minutes reading per month, compared to 32 minutes for men.Worldreader Mobile released in November 2014, measured progress on early literacy skills for students and results showed significant improvements in oral reading fluency, reading comprehension gains, significant impact among low-performing students and development of positive reading habits. Reading on [24], aimed to improve early grade reading skills for students in Ghana. The project’s final report,AusAid and World Vision, USAIDThe Worldreader iREAD 2 project was funded by an All Children Reading grant from [23] The organization conducts


[22] Co-founders

consists of: Peter Spiro, David Risher, Colin McElwee, Charles Brighton, Harrison Miller, Jim Bildner, Kartik Raghavan and Sue Sanderson. In Spain, the organization operates as a registered non-profit foundation validated by the Ministry of Education with the registration number 1361. [21] Worldreader is organized as a


In 2014, Worldreader, with the support of the Global Libraries Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, began researching the use of Kindles in libraries in the developing countries. The one year pilot, called Project LEAP, tested the use, function and adoption of e-readers in eight selected public libraries to determine how e-readers affect library patronage, communities, staff, policies and procedures. The primary impacts of the program included an almost threefold increase in library visits, from 10,442 to 29,023 patrons per month, 254 library-initiated community events and 84% of patrons reported reading more.[20]

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

PRIMR is a study in cooperation with RTI International and USAID to assess the effectiveness of e-readers within the Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) program in Kisumu, Kenya.


Opera Software is promoting Worldreader's reading application to users in 34 sub-Saharan African countries. Since this partnership in May 2015, the number of Worldreader Mobile readers increased to 5.6 million.


Worldreader, in partnership with Nokia and UNESCO, completed a one-year research project that is one of the first, large-scale scientific studies of mobile reading in the developing world. The goal of this study was to understand mobile readers and determine key success factors for mobile reading initiatives to further the advancement of literacy. The study found that reading on mobile phones is convenient and affordable, that users are reading more and that they have improved attitudes toward reading.[19]


UNHCR conducted a Global Education Review in 2011, identifying limited supply of textbooks, teaching resources, and reading materials as a significant factor negatively impacting the provision of quality education in refugee contexts. In 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) implemented a pilot focused on addressing educational resource needs in two refugee settlements of Tanzania.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR)

In September 2014, the nonprofit committed to providing more than 5 million people with access to digital books through mobile technology as part of the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.[18] It has achieved this goal through its partnerships with biNu, Opera and Worldreader Mobile Web. It continues to work towards reaching more readers through key partnerships with Microsoft Mobile, Pratham Books, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNHCR, Kenya’s Longhorn Publishing, and Penguin Random House.

Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Key Partnerships

The nonprofit contends that their mission is two-fold: increasing access to books while spring boarding local publishers and authors into an international market. It makes content available in English and an array of local languages such as Kiswahili, Gikuya, Dholuo, Igbo, Luganda, isiXhosa, Twi, Kinyarwanda, Hindi and Marathi and this is possible without the high costs and other limitations with print. The nonprofit defrays digital start-up costs for local publishers, giving readers better access to relevant content, while simultaneously introducing publishers to new markets.[16][17]

In 2010, the organization began collaborating with Sub-Saharan publishers EPP, Woeli and Sam Woode to offer content to students in their pilot study alongside public domain works and ebooks donated by publishers such as Random House. Building on the success of that project, it currently works with over 20 African publishers.

Digital Publishing in Africa

Research from a 2013 Report by UNESCO,[15] ‘Reading in the Mobile Era’, found that reading on a mobile phone increased reading time across all media. There were also clear benefits for children that were not of reading age as one-third of mobile readers in the developing world use their phones to read stories to children.

Worldreader Mobile’s current library of 28,500 e-book titles covers a spectrum of reading materials, ranging from beginner readers learning to read, to students and teachers accessing educational materials, to those reading for pleasure.

The app is also available on Microsoft Windows phones[15], and in Mozilla’s Firefox Marketplace [16]. In partnership with Opera Software, Worldreader launched a Web-browser app, promoted on the Opera Mini platform.[14]

The prevalence of mobile phone devices and cellular networks globally has helped Worldreader Mobile expand.[11] There are 7.5 billion mobile subscriptions and 3.7 billion people in the world with a mobile phone ; cellular networks reach more than 95 percent of the world's population.[12] Mobile phone users in close to 70 countries use Worldreader Mobile[13] and as of June 2015 Worldreader Mobile had more than five million unique users worldwide thanks its partnership with Opera Software.

Worldreader Mobile is a reading application that provides access to books, educational resources and health information to people with mobile phones.[9] The nonprofit launched Worldreader Mobile in April 2012.[10]

Worldreader Mobile

Monitoring and evaluation of various e-reader programs has revealed positive impact. See Studies for more details.

For schools or libraries without access to electricity, the nonprofit has a solar solution that gives schools and libraries the option to charge and use e-readers. This solar solution is called the BB17. The product can charge up to 200 e-readers and includes solar panels, USB hubs, LED lighting and adapters for mobile phones.

It distributes e-readers preloaded with books through partnering schools and libraries, using a program called a Worldreader BLUE Box. The organization provides on-the-ground support including technical and pedagogical training for local project managers and teachers and e-reader repair training for local businesses. They manage logistics and support in partnership with local governments, school systems, and related businesses.[8]

The nonprofit claims to have distributed 1.3 million digital books on 8,308 Kindle e-readers to children, families and communities in 12 sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zimbabwe. These Kindles have been distributed to 133 schools and libraries across Africa.

Kindles and African Schools and Libraries


The organization was incorporated as a Washington State non-profit corporation in March, 2010.[7] The same month Worldreader opened its first office in Barcelona. In 2012, the non-profit shared office space with the Internet Archive and in October 2012 opened its San Francisco office branch.

On November 21, 2010, Worldreader received official approval from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funding the evaluation of the Worldreader iREAD project. The agreement was made possible as part of USAID’s innovative Global Development Alliance program, enabling Worldreader to deliver 500 e-readers to six schools and conduct measurement and evaluation of its work of putting e-readers into kids' hands in Ghana.

In Fall 2010, the nonprofit secured several agreements with publishers in Ghana to digitize and ensure that local reading material be provided for students and teachers in the Worldreader programs. The non-profit also signed its first agreement with an international publisher, Random House at the end of 2010.

[6] In March 2010, the Worldreader team traveled to

Early in 2010, Colin McElwee and David Risher founded Worldreader and conducted a small trial in a 12th grade English class at Barcelona's Benjamin Franklin International School.[4]

A student in a Ghana classroom reading from a Kindle with Worldreader co-founder David Risher.[3]


In its first five years, Worldreader has reached 5.6 million readers in 69 countries with a digital library of 28,500 local and international e-books via e-readers and mobile phones.Through an internet-connected mobile device, children and families can read e-books with the organization's reading application, called Worldreader Mobile. For schools and libraries in the e-reader program, the Kindles they receive give them direct access to materials, ranging from hundreds of local African textbooks and storybooks to world newspapers, and classic literature from around the world.



  • Impact 1
  • History 2
  • Programs 3
    • Kindles and African Schools and Libraries 3.1
    • Worldreader Mobile 3.2
  • Digital Publishing in Africa 4
  • Key Partnerships 5
    • Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 5.1
    • The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) 5.2
    • UNESCO 5.3
    • OPERA 5.4
    • USAID 5.5
    • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 5.6
  • Governance 6
  • Studies 7
  • References 8

They are headquartered in San Francisco, California (501(c)(3)) and have offices in Europe and Africa.

It has digitized more than 5,000 titles from African and Indian publishers. [2]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.