Solar audio players provide some important benefits, especially if used on remote areas:
- They require no access to the electric grid, as they come with their own solar panel on the back of the device
- They require no access to mobile networks
- They are quite robust
- They are easy to use, including for visually impaired people
- They can hold hundreds of hours of spoken text
- They can be maintained and repaired with local supplies
Solar audio players work best in groups. Women’s groups have a great impact not only on individuals, but also families and communities. Using them as a multiplying factor for health promotion is a powerful, cost-effective and sustainable way to tackle the scarcity of resources, poorly functioning health systems and widespread poverty in developing countries. This is why we have been working with women’s groups ever since the beginning of our project: Our solar-powered Audiopedia players containing our contents were conceived for group listening and are distributed by our local NGO partners to small groups of 10 - 12 women.
But there are also downsides: importing the player can be quite a challenge, and updating the player with new contents requires a strict process to ensure the integrity and structure of the audio files. We have been using the players since 2016 with good results, but have ever since been focusing more on other, more scalable technologies like mobile web apps and WhatsApp on smart phones and smart features phones. Nevertheless, the player remains the best option if you are working in very remote areas with literally no infrastructure.
Our solar audio player guide will give you all the information you need to start using this device in your community outreach activities.