Venezuela’s University of Momboy started an ambitious program to promote “reading, health, and sustainable development” in remote Andean villages. Using a very basic approach, mules loaded with books that travel to remote Andean villages, the group is promoting access to something as basic as knowledge. One of their key objectives is to “develop the child and adult farmer, not only as mere reader and consumer of information, but also capable of producing, narrating and writing.”
The bibliomulas, or book mules, are the equivalent to book mobiles – mobile libraries that take books to villages without access to libraries. Except in this case, the bibliomulas go to villages without access to roads.
The founders, Roberth Ramirez and Jose Luis Briceño were interviewed for an innovation award from “America Learning Media” discussing some of the challenges of the Bibliomulas program. They face many of the same challenges most corporate innovators face. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview (courtesy of Google Translate).
The group discussed, among other challenges, the difficulty of getting buy-in for a program that others viewed as too idealistic and unrealistic. Through passion and perseverance, the group illustrated the purpose driven benefits of the bibliomulas program. “El promover la lectura en las comunidades y especialmente en niños, fortalecer la educación rural, potenciar la relación comunidad – escuela, el estimulo a la creatividad y apoyar la actualización de los docente rurales; nos brinda la oportunidad de imaginar una mejor realidad.” [Roughly translated: “Promoting reading in communities and especially in children, strengthens rural education, enhances community relations, and stimulates creativity, giving us the opportunity to imagine a better reality.”]
The group also discussed the obstacle of constant innovation and continuous improvement, going beyond books to create “Bibliomulas 2.o” (could not resist). Since its inception, the program has expanded beyond books to include cybermulas, mules loaded with laptops, projectors, and mobile phones that access the internet through wireless connections. (I very cool marriage between high tech and low tech).
The founders, when sharing their passion for the program, paraphrase Argentinean Poet Jorge Luis Borges: “Sin duda, la lectura es el descubrimiento más grande y hermoso que ha tenido el hombre, ya lo decía Jorge Luis Borges: la lectura es la mejor de las conquistas del hombre. De tal manera, que llevar la lectura a un niño lo va a convertir en otro ser humano distinto a su padre, que en la mayoría de los casos no sabe leer.” [“Without doubt, reading is the largest and most beautiful discovery…reading is the best of men’s achievements. Thus, to take reading to a child is going to make another human being different from his father, who in most cases (does) not read.”]
Check out their blog here - (http://bibliomulasuvm.blogspot.com/) And think about what new innovations you can create through the marriage of old and new technologies.
*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team shares an on-ramp to Monday with Prophet employees across the globe. We’d like to share the inspiration and expand the footprint of these weekly jump starts by sharing them here. This week’s post was written by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office. Happy Monday!