Global Issues of SLT

SpeechBase – Speech, Language and Hearing Resources for Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Project Design & Aims

    SpeechBase follows the outcomes of the completed PAGEL project “Knowledge Transfer by Global Unity - Multilateral East African-German Partnership in Speech Language Pathology (SLP)” from 2015-2018 and aims to establish infrastructure for academic speech therapy in training and clinical practice. The project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). University of Pretoria from South Africa was acquired as a new partner in order to complement the existing partnerships with Kenyatta University Nairobi, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi (both Tanzania) with a further clinical perspective on AAC. In order to address diverse fields of application of speech and language therapy intervention, subject-specific priorities (HUBs) were created at the partner universities as an essential outcome of the previous PAGEL project. Each HUBs has a different focus, between clearly medical (MUHAS) and clearly educational (KU).

    A web platform is developed for the implementation of speech therapy infrastructure which aims to offer a database for teaching and research material for Speech-Language Therapy. Meanwhile, different to established databases from the anglo-American context, this web platform is developed through the culture-specific and regional adaptation of the local project teams. Additionally, SpeechBase aims to develop study modules with basic content of speech-therapeutic practice for culturally and regionally sensitive implementation in existing academic programs in the fields of ENT, Paediatrics and Special Needs Education. The implementation of trainings for field-relevant capacity building is a continuous task of the project.

    The network of experts that was established in the previous PAGEL project is extended by the integration of cooperative research projects, dissertations and project-specific publications in online journals and newsletters.

  • Project Management & Team

    Project Management: Prof. Dr. habil. Ulrike Lüdtke

    Team: Meike Albrecht, Louisa Johanningmeier, Julia Wu, Steffen Gremmelt

  • Project Funding & Duration

    Funding: DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), PAGEL

    Duration: 2020-2023




Extending educational opportunities for hearing impaired children in Tanzania

  • Project Design & Aims

    HEAR Africa! is a project of the interdisciplinary, interfaculty research initiative “Leibniz Lab for Relational Communication Research“(Prof. Dr. habil. U. Lüdtke, Institute for Special Education, Department for Speech-Language Therapy and Inclusive Education; Prof. Dr. J. Ostermann & Prof. Dr. B. Rosenhahn, Institute for Information Technology). Project partners are the German Hearing Center (DHZ) of the Medical University Hannover (MHH) (Prof. Prof. h.c. Dr. med. Thomas Lenarz, Prof. Dr. Anke Lesinski-Schiedat, PD Dr. Angelika Illg), and the Tanzanian institutions Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi and Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) in Lushoto. HEAR Africa! is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Social Affairs, Health and Gender Equalities.

    The project aims to extend life and education opportunities for hearing-impaired children in Tanzania by implementing and extending structures for medical and therapeutic care and professional qualification: in cooperation with the partner institutions, 5.000 neonates are examined via Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) to receive information about prevalence, comorbidities and risk factors for infant hearing impairment. The screeners - medical staff from the partner institutions - are trained in the field of hearing, hearing impairment and UNHS before performing the procedure for capacity building. Continuously, dissertations, final theses and student projects examine topics related to the project HEAR Africa! and develop information material about significance, diagnostics and therapy of hearing impairment.

    The digitization strategy of HEAR Africa! has been developed in cooperation with the Institut for Information Technology, and has been integrated into the UNHS trainings. Current information is to be found on the website of Leibniz Lab for Relational Communication Research.

    You will find more information on the project on the Leibniz Lab for Relational Communication Research website soon.

  • Project Management & Team

    Management: Prof. Dr. habil. Ulrike Lüdtke, Prof. Dr. hc.c Thomas Lenarz (German Hearing Center, Medical School Hannover)

    Team: Julia Wu (formerly Wendel), Steffen Gremmelt, Prof. Dr. Anke Lesinski-Schiedat (German Hearing Center, Medical School Hannover), Dr. Angelika Illg (German Hearing Center, Medical School Hannover)

  • Project Funding & Duration

    Funding: Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Gender equality in Lower Saxony

    Duration: 2019-2024

Previous Projects

Beteiligte Projekt Indien Beteiligte Projekt Indien Beteiligte Projekt Indien © All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH)



Language Acquisition in Southern India



  • Project Design & Aims

    The joint research in two states in the South of India has a twofold purpose: Extending basic knowledge about language structures and milestones in early language acquisition for the different languages spoken in the South of the country and gaining knowledge on the complexity of communicative interaction in diverse mono- and multilingual contexts. The possible settings in which Indian children learn to communicate seem to vary in a much wider range across many potential influencing factors (such as multilingualism, rural/urban environment, socio-economic context, access to health services, and much more). To gain a better understanding how cultural and social conditions influence early language development and early communicative interaction, audio and video recordings are collected in vivo at home and in institutional settings for early childhood education and care. The results will help to develop new assessments for early identification and improved interventions for mono- and multilingual contexts in different countries.

  • Project Management & Team

    Project Management: Prof. Dr. habil. Ulrike Lüdtke

    Team: Kirsten Beta

    Project partner: All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysore, India: Prof. M. Pushpavathi Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul District, India: Prof. K.S.Pushpa, Dr. Kavitha Maithily

  • Project Duration

    Duration: 09/2017 - 09/2020

Multiplikatorinnennetzwerk Multiplikatorinnennetzwerk Multiplikatorinnennetzwerk © Julia Wendel/IfS

Preventive Community-Based Work in Early Childhood and Communication Development in Irente, Tanzania

  • Project Description

    The project focused on community-based work to spread knowledge and information on early childhood and communication development due to the specific cultural and environmental needs and demands in the village communities of Irente. 

    It comprised a training course in early childhood and communication development and the joint development and publication of information material and mobile learning material for early education and care.

    More than 20 members of the established network of multipliers, including the management and professional caretakers of Irente Children’s Home (ICH), village-rooted mamas, and lecturers of SEKOMU University, are continuously working on the expansion of the network and the conduction of information and counselling services for the local village communities.

    The activities throughout the project can be summarized into the following timeline:

    • Preparation of culturally sensitive and sustainable training modules and organization of the training course (Nov. 2017-Feb. 2018)
    • Conduction of the first training for ICH staff and training participants (Feb. 2018)
    • Development and conception of information and mobile learning materials and counselling services (Apr. 2018)
    • Organization and conduction of a pilot program for the developed counselling and information services and materials in selected villages (continuing since April 2018)
    • Expansion of the network and training of further participants (continuing since Nov. 2018)
    • Regular exchange in supervision meetings (continuing since Oct. 2018)
  • Project Management & Team

    Project Management:

    Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lüdtke

    Project Team:            

    Kirsten Beta, Julia Wu (formerly Wendel), Afizai Vuliva, Robert Shehaghilo, Emiliana Mgaya, Enna Mdemu, Mariane Mrisho, Rev. James Mwinuka, Rev. Joyce Kibanga

  • Project Funding & Duration

    Duration:  06/2017 - 11/2018

    Funding: Lower Saxony State Chancelery,  Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Gender equality in Lower Saxony

  • Project Collaborations
  • Project Publications
    • Wendel, J., Beta, K. & Vuliva, A. (in prep.). Preventive Community-Based Work in Early Childhood and Communication Development in Irente, Tanzania. In: Lüdtke, U., Kija, E. & Karia, M.: Handbook of Communication Disabilities and Language Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer.
    • Beta, K., Wendel, J., Vuliva, A., Mgaya, E. & Shehaghilo, R. (2018). Workbook. (unveröffentlichtes Projektmaterial)