Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final report and impact assessment - Establisment of the DAISY Talking Book Center project

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Final report and impact assessment

I.    Final Report – Summary Information

Report Due Date:     20th May 2011
Project Title:    Establishment of the DAISY Talking Books Center
Organization Name:    Ulaanbaatar Public Library
Primary Contact:           
Last name    Altantsetseg    First name     Choi
Deputy director   
Telephone     976-70115705
Seoul Street – 7,
Ulaanbaatar 28,
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Fax    976-70115703

Web site

Grant Amount (U.S. dollars):     USD 30000

Geographic Location(s) of project:    Ulaanbaatar, capital city, and
    21 province centers of Mongolia

Report Prepared by:    Altantsetseg Ch.    Date Submitted:    23/05/2011

II.    Final Report – Narrative


I.    Background & Rationale: Clearly and (if possible) quantitatively articulate the problem you addressed, including the magnitude, history, and causes of the problem.

One of the most difficult problems to solve in the present-day Mongolia is the issue of supporting the vulnerable groups of people including those who cannot afford themselves in competing with the rest of the society. A special attention should be paid to the persons with visual impairment as they are more dependent on others.

Currently there are nearly 130 thousand people in Mongolia living visual disabilities of which 9,400 are partially or totally blind. Out of more than 9 thousand people only 150 are employed in some way. The overwhelming majority of the blind have an extremely limited access to the information and have to rely on the human reading which can be done very rarely and not available to everyone.

II.    Goal & Objectives & Activities:  Describe to what extent your project has achieved the goals outlined in your proposal.  Please state each objective, and answer the following questions:
a.    Briefly describe the activities carried out to meet the objective as described in your proposal.

The goal of the project was to increase possibilities for the low vision and blind people in having access to the information, especially to those which could be used in improving their living standards. For this end, a proposal was made to establish a studio that can make audio records in the most up-to-date digital format named DAISY.

b.    Briefly describe any proposed activities that were not completed according to the proposed milestones, the reasons they were not completed and the plans for carrying them out.
c.    If activities completed differ from your proposal what caused these changes? 
d.    If there were additional accomplishments beyond those originally planned, please describe them and explain what activities that led to these accomplishments.
There was one very important additional accomplishment beyond those originally planned. This is a renovation of the analogue audio studio that used to function at the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind, into the DAISY one. Our project helped them to realize that the new technology is far more effective and fruitful in the educational process. Thus, the opportunities of book preparation doubled during the planned period.

III.    Achievements:  List your top 5 achievements (accomplishments) for this project.

1. A professional DAISY Studio was established.
2. For the first time in Mongolia, digital audio books were recorded in a DAISY format
3. Very important is the fact that the modern technology achievements, i.e. the Information Communication Technology were introduced to improve the living conditions of the low vision and blind people.
4. It was possible to note that there were almost no services to the blind people in the province centers. Now these people have realized that there is something which could be done apart of their dwelling areas. In other words, the blind people have become more active and they have got a message that they could be integrated into the society through the educational process provided in the form of digital books and textbooks.
5. Once the Daisy books are distributed to all the province centers and the rural settlement libraries become involved in the cause of supporting the disabled persons, it is possible to say that a National Network of exchanging information for the low vision and blind people have been established for the first time in the history of the country.

IV.    Communication: Describe the methods you used to market and communicate the project to different audiences (for example, policy makers, partners, users, the general public, other libraries and librarians, etc.)

We use all standard ways to communicate, and started email list for province librarians to exchange information and experience,

and Blog, Twitter and Facebook page to make a support group.


V.    Impact Assessment:  Describe what impact you believe the project had.  Please provide appropriate evidence for all statements, based on your Impact Assessment Research.

a.    Number of public library service points (libraries, branches or access points) providing the new service supported by the PLIP grant.

There are 26 DAISY talking book services provided through 26 points currently, which are as follows:
-    The Reading Room, DAISY Talking Book Center, Ulaanbaatar Public Library
-    The Audio Studio, Mongolian National Federation of the Blind
-    The Special School No 116
-    The Rehabilitation and Training Center
-    The Cultural Club of the Occupational and Training Enterprise for the Blind People
-    All the 21 province libraries

b.    Percentage change in number of physical visits to public libraries supported by PLIP (change in overall user numbers since the project was implemented) [see Guidance note]

b/h.    One week visits to read the DAISY books:
-    The Reading Room, DAISY Talking Book Center, Ulaanbaatar Public Library
(baseline – 0, mid project – 10, end project 30)
-    The Audio Studio, Mongolian National Federation of the Blind
(baseline – 0, mid project – 4, end project 17)
-    The Special School No 116 
(baseline – 0, mid project – 25, end project 45)***
-    The Rehabilitation and Training Center
(baseline – 0, mid project – 20 massage course students, end project - 20)***
-    The Culture Centre of the Occupational and Training Enterprise for the Blind People
(baseline – 0, mid project – one person in each of 5 days a week, end project -10)
-    21 provinces (Previously the low vision and blind people had never visited libraries in the provinces. Thanks to the project, rural people started realizing that there is such an important place does exist where one can go and get services that are useful and enjoyable. Currently on average there are 2 to 3 visits daily)
*** the number of visits increases during the operation of the Mobile Library (more listening devices leased for a certain period) in these places because they  have 1 BookSense each

c.    Total number of workstations and other pieces of equipment used by the new service (including equipment not paid for by PLIP) [see Guidance note]
d.    Number of workstations and other pieces of equipment used by the new service paid for by PLIP (excluding equipment not paid for by PLIP) [see Guidance note]
2 workstations were bought as it had been stated in the project proposal.  One is used only for the preparation of DAISY books. There was My Studio PC software installed in this computer. This program is for working to make quality records by the sighted readers.

The 2nd PC is used by the producer where the GOLDWAVE software had been installed. A sound card and a microphone are connected to the PC additionally. This PC is used for the DAISY production and editing.

The above computers are used for the duplication of DVDs that contain 24 titles of the recorded DAISY books.

One more computer was bought for the use in the DAISY Talking Book Center where people can browse the Internet for improving knowledge and for copying DAISY digital books directly to the BookSense DAISY player from that computer. 5 to 6 readers use this PC from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for 5 days a week (from Tuesday till Saturday included).
The 3rd additional computer was bought while using the balance appeared due to the discount of 40 pcs of BookSense provided from the seller.

e.    Workstation use rate (for all workstations dedicated to the new service). [see Guidance note]

A – 3, B – 3 (100%)

f.    Number of library workers or partners trained under the PLIP grant.

The following librarians attended the training classes:
-    Librarian of the Reading Room, DAISY Taking Book Center
-    A sighted reader of the DAISY Talking Book Center
-    Volunteer 25 sighted readers to work on MyPC software for making records.
-    Librarian of the Special School No 116
-    Head of the Rehabilitation and Training Center
-    Head of the Cultural Club, the Occupational and Training Enterprise for the Blind People
-    Librarians of 21 provinces (2 persons) or 42  librarians
Totally 72 persons

g.    Number of library users trained by the PLIP program in the skills described in the proposal.
Approximately 250 low vision and blind persons were trained to use the BookSense device and listen to the records. Many of them were re-trained (especially the those came from the provinces to study at the Rehabilitation Center) once again as more learning was needed to get a full understanding.

h.    Increase in users from the target audience (specific target audience e.g. jobseekers, scholars, farmers) for the new service.

i.    Impact on users and staff.
i.    Results from questionnaires for users
Questionnaire 1 (among 50 users – including those asked by the telephone from provinces)

1.    What is the significance of the DAISY equipment?
    * This is very important for improving the knowledge and getting information
    * This is especially important for the people who do not know Braille scrip
    * Also it is easy to use because the Braille books are heavy to carry. BookSenses are very quick
   in turning pages.
2.    What should be done to improve the DAISY services?
    * More should be done increase the points of services to reach more people.
    * Increase the number of devices per point because currently there are only one at each place.
    * Find devices with a lower price, if possible.
3.    What was the most specific interesting thing of these services?
    * Page-by-page, section-by-section, heading-by-heading, sentence-by-sentence is the most amazing specifics of this technology. It was an expected and unbelievable to everyone.
* Advantages of this services are that while reading the DAISY books one can also listen to the FM radio.
4.    What would you suggest to the project implementation team?
    * More voices were recommended to make the records more interesting, especially the books with many pages.
    * Many people asked to forward a message of gratitude to the EIFL-PLIP Program

ii.    Results from questionnaire for staff
Annex 2. Questionnaire 2 (among 25 librarians of the city and from 21 provinces)

1.    How the local authorities, rural librarians and the visually impaired people in the province did accept this project?
•    It was greatly appreciated by everybody
•    It is an incomparable opportunity for these people to increase information availability.

2.    Does this technology truly important for the low vision and blind people?
•    Yes, this technology even serves as a bridge among visually impaired and the sighted people

3.    What were the difficulties when using the DAISY technologies?
•    Instructions in English make it uneasy to learn the operation of devices

4.    Do the librarians need some kind of training when working with the low vision people?
•    Yes, the training is needed. For instance, there should be a kind of “Mobility Training” which means that both the librarians and the visitors should be trained in learning where to go, for instance, explain – where is the Restroom, how does it operated, etc.
5.    How did the number of visitors increase after the DAISY technology had been introduced?
•    The number has visibly increased
6.    What kind of organizational issues should be solved in rural areas?
•    A special room is needed for the visitors
•    Accessibility devices like the bars at the wall to touch, Braille road and notes in  the corridors are much needed for the blind visitors.

iii.    Results from focus groups [at least one if appropriate]

j.    Did you find the impact evaluation useful?

Yes, it really helps us to realize more clearly what have done and at what extent

k.    Will you carry on assessing impact after the project ends and if so, how?

    After the end of the project we will conduct fund raising activities and if successful, will outline our future actions due to the funds available. We will continue the assessing the impact as it was understood as the most important way of monitoring the cause of the process.

l.    Annexes (please attach to the Final Report)
E.g. Questionnaires, focus group scripts etc.


Please list the partner organizations you worked with to implement the PLIP project and describe the role and contribution of each one.

There is one partner organization but it is very active and much concerned in the successful implementation of the project. This is the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind. Established in 1978, it has branches all the provinces and conducts many-sided activities for improving the educational level of its members, providing job opportunities, protecting their rights and supporting the involvement of the blind in the normal social life.

The MNFB's role in the elaboration, publicity and successful implementation of the project was enormous. All its branches and institutions like the Rehabilitation and Training Center for the Blind, the Braille and Talking Books Publishing Center, the “Best Massage” Chain, the “Best FM98.5” and the Specialized School No 116 were actively involved in the process of introducing the DAISY technology and making it adapted well in the Mongolian conditions.


Here we wish to understand some of the lessons you and your library learnt through implementing the PLIP project. The following categories are a guide – please feel free to write about any other learning you think was important.

What worked well and what did not?

    Every component of the project was done well.

Discuss how you have addressed the anticipated challenges. Have there been any additional internal or external challenges? How were they addressed?

a. There were some financial constraints caused by the sudden rise of prices for the materials needed to buy for establishing the studio.

b. One of the most difficult issues encountered was the finding of a good sighted reader. It took some time but was solved. However, when the sited reader was to be looked for to work on a voluntary basis, only students approached us. Though the students are welcomed to work, they have limited time to spend in the studio. We were more interested in the retired professionals like former actors, etc. but nobody had come. Probably, there is something wrong with the involvement of the retired people in the socially needed works as the majority of them may have understood that it's shameful for the elders to be mixed with the youngsters. There seems absent a kind of mechanism that would encourage and motivate the pensioners to be socially active and be able to contribute their knowledge and talents to the well-being of others, especially to those who are in a strong need.

c. We did not expect that the work with the disabled people would be so much difficult and demand extra efforts when realizing the tasks set forth. For instance, low vision people have to be accompanied to come, they need special care and understanding. Fortunately, the partner organization was much active and carried much of the load on its shoulders.

d. One BookSense was lost as a result of theft. When lost, the user would have to compensate the loss which is a heavy burden to handicapped people because the cost exceeds their allowance several times.

Learning about partnerships

The cooperation with the MNFB eased greatly the implementation of the project due to the following facts:

What was the most successful partnership, and why?
* The Federation has branches in all the province centers and their activists help the rural librarians intensively.

Please describe any challenges you encountered in working with partner organizations.
* They themselves have upgraded their audio studio into the DAISY one. According to the project plan, 12 books were to be recorded. This work has been completed successfully. In other words, during the planned period 12 digital books were prepared for the first time in Mongolia.  But if to add another 5 that were transferred from analogue audio into DAISY format at the MNFB's studio, the total number would be increased almost by 50%. Furthermore, the renovated MNFB’s studio which has become a DAISY studio also, prepared 12 more titles. So, the total number of DAISY books, thanks to the partnership, reached 29 and has increased by 150% as compared to the planned number.

Discuss why these challenges came about and what steps you took to overcome them.
* The Federation uses the BookSense equipment intensively even at their meetings and workshops – they make records by BookSense and distribute copies in DAISY format. Thus the equipment's utilization is expending which is important for the popularization of the DAISY books.

How appropriate was the technology you chose for your PLIP? How effective was the technology in supporting your service. What challenges were there in procuring, installing, housing and using the technology? How well did library staff and users manage to use the technology?

This is truly amazing device and everybody is of high impression. The only problem was caused due to the wrong handling by the users who made 6 of them broken. 2 were repaired 4 are still at the factory.

Booksense device’s price is pretty high for the Mongolian conditions and province public libraries cannot afford themselves to increase the number. The instructions are in English only which makes them not easy to use by the visitors.

Replicability of the project
What recommendations do you have for other organizations attempting similar projects? These should be both project specific as well as broader lessons (i.e. best practices, cultural messages/attitudes, reflections on partnerships etc.). How will these lessons be communicated to the stakeholders?

The following are the recommendations that seems to be important if the similar project being planned and implemented in other countries:

* The most important is the choosing of a partner organization that is preferably to be an NGO dedicated to help the disabled people as the library alone can not carry on all the duties.
* Very important is the support on the side of Government and the local authorities which should be aware of the project from the very beginning.
* The equipment's instructions should be well translated and distributed in different forms. We firstly printed it and copied as a manual. Then recorded as a DAISY manual or made it audio.  And thirdly, it was transformed into a video manual and distributed as DVDs thus making possible to train the librarians and anyone interested in learning about its correct usage. It is understood that thanks to these efforts, plus intensive trainings, not many devices were broken.
* Alongside with the project implementation, there should be organized some kind of public activities aimed at making the people and institutions realize the importance of these equipment to the low vision person. These may help in fund raising to increase the number devices at one point.
* The involvement of professional sited readers could become a real challenge. This issue might be solved if some NGOs become voluntarily responsible for the contact with the interested people.


Future work
Will you continue the service at the end of the EIFL PLIP project cycle? What will the continued service be, and through what partnerships and resources will you sustain it? Have the outputs of this grant fed into your planning for future activities? 

    The MNFB has 2 good sighted readers and one is working at our DAISY Studio now.  Thanks to this, we are planning to record new books and 3 titles are ready for the reading.

Other Sources of Project Support:
Did your project receive the support you anticipated and told us about in the proposal? (If applicable) Have there been any additional sources of support for this project, including in-kind gifts, equipment etc? Detail organization, amount/type, date received.

* The Ulaanbaatar Public Library will continue supporting the project by providing the facilities free-of-charge and DAISY Studio manager will be provided with a salary starting from September.
* The US Embassy provided a study tour grant to Mr. Begzsuren, Project's IT Manager for internship learning the work of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in October, 2010.
* Mr. Tsengel, Project DAISY Expert, was granted to participate in the Mongolian Text-to-Speech Development Project by the World Bank in Thailand (Feb-April, 2011)

Here please comment on EIFL-PLIP support. Was/is there anything more the PLIP program managers could have done to assist you? (Lessons for EIFL)

We are thankful to the EIFL-PLIP program managers who were so kind in answering all the questions we didn't know, advising promptly on what we hesitated and directing us in the ways the project should go as scheduled. We believe that the managers did the work excellently and we are happy for cooperating in the project implementation.

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