It has been a privilege to innovate and co-design technology projects for NGOs across five continents. Below I’ve listed some recent project highlights.
Collaboration is key to the success of these projects and you can see below that in each project, I worked with many stakeholders including NGO leadership, volunteers and communities. Get in touch if you want to hear more about how these projects were developed.
Engaging vulnerable youth through social media (2020-21)
Background: In Victoria (Australia), the extended COVID-19 lockdowns severely disrupted the work of many NGOs that work with vulnerable people from diverse cultural and language backgrounds.
Like many organisations, they switched to Zoom meetings but found that youth were complaining of ‘zoom fatigue’ due to the limited engagement that online meetings offer.
Solution: I am part of a research team with colleagues from Action Lab and Monash Migration and Inclusion Center, and we are about to embark on an exciting technology project (Social Media Playbooks).
Collaborating with a number of influential youth organisations, we will co-design a set of social media activities that will enable the orgs to conduct events and data collection through WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok and other platforms that youth use.
participatory video Evaluation: zika outreach program (2019)
Background: In response to the Zika emergency in South America, IFRC (in partnership with Save the Children) implemented the Community Action on Zika project in five countries in the Americas: Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
While they had a number of quantitative evaluation activities in place, they needed a video evaluation that would help them hear stories about the project directly from communities.
Solution: I worked with IFRC and the Red Cross societies of Colombia and Honduras to design a mobile-based Participatory Video (PV) project for community evaluation of the CAZ project in two locations in Colombia and Honduras. The PV team spent five days with each region’s community to help them capture their stories using the INDABA participatory method for ideation and community storytelling.
supporting deaf populations in participatory video (2018)
Background: Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) wanted to carry out a baseline assessment to find out how their disability inclusion pilot, “First Aid for Deaf”, could be improved and further adapted for deaf school teachers and children.
They wanted to carry out a participatory video (PV) assessment, but were worried about how youth with deafness could take part in typical PV initiatives.
Solution: I worked with researchers from Newcastle University (UK) and the Monitoring & Evaluation team at IFRC to develop a tailored participatory video approach.
Through this approach, we supported youth with deafness or hearing loss to have fun while fully contributing to all the stages of this video technology project (ideation, shooting videos and editing final stories).
This was made possible through Indaba, the mobile participatory video methodology and tool that we created. You can watch the videos that the youth and school teachers produced here.
providing training to rural health workers in india (2017)
Background: There are over 90k Community Health Workers (CHWs) in India, who are crucial to maternal and child health outreach to the rural population.
SWACH, an NGO based in Haryana, India, send CHWs to over 100 villages and faced many logistical problems (e.g. high cost of bringing together CHWs, limited internet in rural locations) in trying to organise monthly professional development for these workers.
Solution: I was part of an international research team from UK, India and Lebanon who developed a bespoke technology (called Citizen Radio) for SWACH to conduct training and mentoring with CHWs through group telephone calls.
The advantage of this solution is that the CHWs can be in any rural location and still take part in training sessions as long as they are able to make a phone call.
supporting note-taking when listening to audio information
Background: One of the common problems when listening to information (for example, through audiobooks or podcasts) is that it is hard to take notes to which you can return later.
Some applications use a simple bookmarking feature, but how can you differentiate between bookmarks or jump quickly to a specific bookmark without remembering the timestamp when the segment of interest happened?
Solution: I developed an app (called Citizen Tagger) to study this problem. I recruited participants who were heavy podcast users, and trialled two different types of bookmarks: text tags (when you press the bookmark button, a text-entry popup appears) and audio tags (when you press the bookmark button, an audio recorder popup appears).
Interestingly, the tags of participants who used audio were much more self-reflective (possibly because speaking into a recorder is easier to do quickly than typing long responses).