The Benefits of Digital Reading for Vulnerable Families in Crisis Settings
Findings from the Tuta Tuta project in Jordan
In February 2017, Worldreader launched the Tuta Tuta program, funded by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This program aimed to promote frequent reading by parents and caregivers to Syrian refugee children within their Jordanian host communities – supporting their educational and social-emotional needs by providing access to a digital collection of Arabic storybooks. The books were accessible through data-connected mobile phones. Designed to use a blended learning approach, the program combined direct support for vulnerable families to read to their children with digital reminders and a behavior change campaign.
The digital campaign promoted parental engagement in learning through shared reading, and introduced and normalized the concept of mobile phone use for educational support and access to books. The program launched operations in August of 2018 after a year of mobile app development, content identification and curation, partnership development, and formative research. Tuta Tuta reached over 58,000 refugees and Jordanian families through digital campaigns and provided direct support to an additional 2,000 parents through the parenting programs of Worldreader’s five local partners.
The use of digital content and digital reading interventions in emergency and protracted crises is relatively new. The Tuta Tuta pilot program contributes to a growing body of evidence that mobile technologies and digital content can be leveraged for parental engagement, learning, and improved education outcomes in situations of conflict and adversity.