Post 8 – March 26

What we’ve done: Now that we’ve met with Chris and have the go-ahead, we are moving firmly in the direction of researching non-financial ways the Ugandan diaspora may want to be involved with RootIO. Some initial research has exposed: a couple waves of migration, due to the politics of Idi Amin, conflicts with DRC, and the Lord’s Resistance Army; vibrant online diaspora publications; a large Ugandan presence in Tanzania, UK, and the US; the presence of brain drain; and the number of health professionals that leaveSSA to get educated abroad. We pulled together a list of over 30 contacts that will be engaging with the hope of getting an interview. We are contacting them now, and hoping to schedule interviews over the week of April 9-16. We have also settled on our analogous populations of study: Nigeria (for the significant size of it’s population), Romania (for it’s relative media-darkness), Puerto Rico (for the %age of legal immigrants abroad), and Guatemala (for the %age of illegal immigrants abroad). Obstacle/s: The response rate of our cold outreach is unpredictable. We have two solid connections grace a Robby, but everyone else is a stranger. We may have to make a second push to contact individuals, in the case of a low response rate, before our ideal week to schedule interviews (April 9-16). Visiting London is therefore up in the air. In addition, we want to make sure that we don’t get too distracted by setting up a radio station in Madeira (finding the exact legalities has not been straightforward). Furthermore, it will be a balancing act to make sure that we get...

Post 7 – March 20, 2015

What we’ve done: We offered to help our client find “filler” content for the radio stations while they are being set up in Uganda at the 4 test sites. As with any new technology, there is an adjustment period; for RootIO, this means they need audio files to play on the stations while the community gets used to the concept and hopefully starts creating their own content. We have continued/expanded our literature review to include research on diaspora groups, particularly community associations, blogs, and Facebook pages that might help us make contacts. In addition to Ugandans in the UK, we are looking into cross-cultural comparisons with other African groups in Portugal such as Angolans and Cape Verdeans or perhaps Latin Americans in the US. Our new hunt statement is: We aim to research the diversity of the Ugandan diaspora to determine how diaspora members can contribute to the Ugandan media in non-financial ways. While it’s possible most people want to contribute financially in terms of both remittances and/or sponsoring a station, we are eager to explore other means of participation. We listened to a talk given by Stefan Candea, an investigative journalist and co-founder of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism. He suggested diaspora members could be a great resource in terms of finding partner organizations in other countries interested in overcoming the censorship prevalent in many home countries. Obstacle/s: Access to our new user group is potentially easier and cheaper given Portugal’s close proximity to the UK, but we currently have fewer contacts in that community than Uganda itself, so our greatest concern is finding the right people to get in touch with. We...

Post 6- March 12, 2015

What we’ve done: This past week we focused on reading through the books of our literature review, gathering all the feedback we got from our presentation last Thursday and from our last meeting with Chris, which was crucial for the orientation of our project. We also got the chance to play with an actual RootIO radio station [in progress] but we couldn’t do much with it without being completely set. The meeting with Chris was focused on narrowing down our project’s scope. We presented to him more than 10 potential hunt statements and his feedback was that we could choose a focus we liked but also find relevant to the RootIO project. After a lot of discussion we are looking forward to a diaspora focus project now which brings many new opportunities but also some redesign of our approach. We had a meeting with Anu Sridharan to discuss her experiences in her current project being developed in India. Her project is called NextDrop and is focused on communicating water availability in four different regions in India. It currently holds between 38,000 and 40,000 active users. We got interesting insights about unexpected experiences, obstacles and an interesting approach to the “missed calls” concept as a free communication platform being used by millions of people. Obstacle/s: We are looking forward a highly possible new approach to our Capstone project and that will bring consequences to our current documentation (budget, timeline, research plan, competitive analysis, territory map, etc.). After trying to focus really closely on the Ugandan rural communities and their interaction with the RootIO platform, it seems that we’ll be taking the focus away from them to...

Post 5- March 6, 2015

What we’ve done: This week we mostly concentrated on doing a competitive analysis.  We first defined who the competitors are and split them up into three areas, those being tier 1 (direct competitors), tier 2 (indirect competitors) and niche (user-generated platforms). After that we brainstormed and defined the dimensions we would use to compare the different competitors. Examples of these include reach, language, how content is generated, popularity indicators, methods of participation, among others. Once we completed the competitive analysis chart we started looking for interesting findings and created charts that visualized these findings.  Some of these findings were how popular facebook is as a participation platform for listeners and radio stations, that a lot of languages are represented, and that stations don’t shy away from serious topics. We received our books for our literature review, and have started going through those. Jenn also scheduled three interviews with people we can learn about how to get people to adopt new technologies, and the Ugandan diaspora.  We had a meeting with Chris to narrow our scope and to present the work we have done so far. Obstacle/s: We are struggling with client expectations and understanding how our project could fit in with what they are doing.  Some of this problems arises with the client feeling we are redoing research that was already conducted early on in the process. Next Steps: This coming week we will be interviewing two people, one who introduced a new technology in India and the other who is a member of the Ugandan diaspora.  We will also continue our literature review and start synthesizing findings. Additionally,...