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DW’s Learning by Ear goes mobile

DW’s youth educational radio program, Learning by Ear, is being made more accessible in Africa through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, which uses mobile phones to access the programs with no need to download the content.

The new service allows the user to call a local number and hear specific episodes of the show on demand, as well as choose to have the content delivered to them via SMS or email.

While the rate of Internet usage in Africa is still low, the continent has emerged as one the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the world in the last decade. DW’s new service caters to this media consumption trend, and in addition allows access via landline connections.

“The main goal behind the project is to make Learning by Ear accessible for people with any type of cellular phone, regardless of its age, model, operating system or carrier. No Internet connection is necessary,” said Naser Shrouf, DW’s head of distribution for Africa and the Middle East.

Some of the partner networks already involved in providing the service include MTN Ghana, Vodacom Tanzania, Airtel Niger and Airtel Nigeria. It will also soon be launched in Rwanda and Liberia.

Since 2008, Deutsche Welle has been providing its African audiences with the educational program Learning by Ear. Available in English, French, Portuguese, Amharic, Hausa and Kiswahili, it is currently broadcast by over 270 radio stations throughout Africa and its content is also available online. The new dial-up service means that an even greater number of listeners can be reached.