Members of the ICT Rapid Prototyping Working Group are spending several days meeting with communities to examine the results of a set of recently concluded communication campaigns.
The campaigns form part of an action research strategy to explore the use and adoption of low cost ICTs for knowledge mobilization in agricultural communities of practice. A previous post describes the campaigns and the communities involved.
Day one involved a meeting with a community group in Kirunkullan, a village located a few kilometres south of Batticaloa, sponsored by Janathakshan (formerly Practical Action). This campaign centred on using text messages to relay price information to the local community in an effort to improve the return they have been getting on their produce. Overall the campaign demonstrated the feasibility of text messaging for making this possible.
It is not entirely clear from discussions with the technology stewards involved in this campaign as to whether the demand for price information is seasonal, or whether there is a call for it on an ongoing basis. However, the tech steward will need to continue to work with the community to promote the system and encourage individuals to organize and plan to report price information when they visit the market or otherwise receive market information. In this case, the technology can enhance current social practices of sharing information by making it easier to distribute to a large group relatively quickly.
One of the technology stewards on this campaign also asked about the possibility of using FrontlineSMS to coordinate text messaging with another project he is involved with through UN Habitat. This is an encouraging sign, inasmuch as it demonstrates that this individual is taking initiative to further innovate with the technology having had some initial experience with it.