Project Costs

Talking Book Costs

Talking Books Per Person

  • Education: 1 for every 2 or 4 students of the largest class, assuming typical 6-classroom school + teacher device and maybe 5% spares
  • Village Use (agric or health): 1 for every 4-8 households or 36 to 72 people + content producer devices (e.g. AEAs or nurses)


  • headphones for each device: ~$2-$4/device (?)
  • external mic for content producers: $5
  • loudspeaker per school and village (?): $25/each (?)

Power Costs

  • Include one set of new batteries inside Talking Books
  • Ongoing battery costs:
  • Solar Power
  • Rechargeable batteries



  • Regional Training of Trainers Workshop
  • Local training of end users

Tech Support

  • within villages
  • supporting implementers


  • new universal categories
  • new applications


  • survey time
  • fuel
  • data aggregation
  • report writing

Content Production and Feedback

  • content developing
  • content recording
  • content loading
  • gathering / aggregating play/copy count & user rating data
  • collecting and listening to recorded replies to content

Wide Area Content Distribution

  • mobile phone time for uploading/downloading content to other TBs or server

Early email on the subject of Talking Books and M&E Costs:

On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM, Cliff Schmidt <> wrote:
> Regarding the # of Talking Books, the most important factor is the
> number of people / households / villages that you want to serve.  I
> don't recall seeing your plan for that, but I can tell you that one
> Talking Book can be effective when shared with 4 households or ~36
> people.  We are hopeful to find that our latest approach to device
> allocation schemes allow a Talking Book to reach 6  or even 8
> households, but we haven't tested this yet.
> Depending on the size of the villages that you would select and the #
> of Talking Books used by field agents and/or radio stations, I would
> expect that 200 devices could cover 4-6 villages (assuming an average
> small village size of about 1500 people or so).  500 devices would
> have been somewhere around 10-15 villages per country.  Neither would
> be enough in any one country for a random controlled trial evaluation
> with statistically significant results when clustering on villages,
> but you certainly could get design an evaluation to show compelling
> results with either number.
> For M&E, to conduct interviews similar to what you read about and to
> also conduct surveys for harvest results (see
>, I would
> suggest approximately 10 person-days (maybe a pair of
> interviewers/surveyors in a village for two to three days at the
> beginning and end of a rainy season/cycle period) per village.  With
> 200 devices divided in 5 villages, I would budget for 50 person-days
> per rainy season (not sure whether you plan to work in areas with one
> or two cycles per year or if you would want to measure 1,2, or 3 years
> this way).  With 500 devices, I'd estimate about 125 person-days per
> rainy season.
> There is much more we could discuss about other costs to consider in
> the intervention and in analyzing and reporting on the results, but
> I'm sure you have ideas on that.  Some of this also may depend on how
> integrated Talking Books are with the other interventions you are
> running, although I assume you would want to carefully control which
> interventions are in which villages (with one in each or possibly
> study the interaction effects).