Matar Project is a youth-run Social Enterprise that initially started in Irbid/ North of Jordan to help provide audio recordings of academic books to visually disabled university students. They used to run an operational model that limits the achievement of this “text to speech” objective to two options. While the first engages volunteers in producing electronically readable text by converting text in images or pdf. into MS Word, the second channels their efforts in recording the text in audio format using their mobile smartphones. A volunteer coordinator then collects and archives recordings or documents and sends them by email or voice notes using messaging apps to students who initially requested them.
The day-to-day reality of operations of Matar used an array of applications to record, and a variety of channels through which the end product gets sent to the coordinator. This process was very time consuming and sometimes technically challenging to the coordinator as he/she is requested to compile everything in one file that can be sent to the visually disabled student. Due to the lack of a centralized database, recorded and typed material were saved with coordinators and hence were not openly available to all beneficiaries. This has hindered the scope and reach of the services provided by Matar and has limited their beneficiaries to only around 100 in over 5 years of operation. Currently, the group manages more than 500 volunteers from all across Jordanian universities using a Facebook page.
Houloul 2030 enabled Matar to innovate their services by digitizing their operations. The solution idea capitalizes on the power of interactive technology in transforming user experiences. It called for the development of a web and mobile application with two unique interfaces. The first interface is dedicated to helping registered volunteers to either audio-record or type the text from selected image and text formats supported by the app. All recordings or text related to each book will auto-save on a central database in real time ready and will then be ready to be shared with a user in need.
The second interface of the application is designed with full accessibility (in compliance with WCAG 2.0 — W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) and is dedicated to providing the visually disabled with the option of listening to recorded audio books and text recorded by a community of volunteers. This solution enhanced Matar’s service, reach, and scope while centralizing its efforts. The two interfaces joint resulted in an electronic library of high quality audio textbooks available to all beneficiaries all the time.
Impact In Numbers:
“Our participation in the MEPI-funded Project “Houloul 2030: Social Innovation Incubator” helped us re-innovate and digitize our business model to create more social impact. Thanks for the program, we were able to centralize our operations in a way that maximizes engagement of our users and beneficiaries.” Noor Al Ajlouni, Founder.