Kristina Lee: Books on the ground

United Methodist Communications will host the Game Changers Summit Sept. 3-5, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The conference will demonstrate how information and communications technology (ICT) can be used to improve all facets of life. The focus? Helping parts of the world left behind by the technological revolution, to solve problems in education, wellness and community development with cutting-edge communications tools. This article series will spotlight some of the speakers and panelists participating in the Game Changers Summit.

Kristina Lee is in the perfect job to marry her skills with her passion. As partnership development manager for Worldreader, she forges partnerships that put digital books in the hands of students in developing nations.

“I came from the for-profit sector and I was working with technology companies … and could see the impact tech has on the developed world,” Lee says. “I had a heart for going into the developing world and found Worldreader.”

Since 80 percent of the developing world has access to mobile phones, Worldreader uses the existing technology like phones and e-readers to provide digital books to schools, libraries and communities. Worldreader currently has a library of 6,000 titles, and has a publishing wing that continually digitizes African publications to add to its selection.

Lee often gets asked why Worldreader focuses on literacy rather than disaster or health-related issues and she feels that one reinforces the other.

When the Ebola outbreak began, the World Health Organization published a list of health facts people should know about Worldreader uploaded that list to their Worldreader Mobile app.

“In our library, we have lots of material related to health … things like Where There Is No Doctor, which is a very popular book, or storybooks catered to children like Kofi Has Malaria — books that kids in the U.S. wouldn’t be reading but they’re very locally and culturally relevant,” Lee says. “This is the way we’re able to start in the beginning to provide education to get to prevention.”

*Butler is a multimedia editor/producer for United Methodist Communications.

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