Posted to the Ethnos Project by on March 8th, 2014
  1. Can you give a little background to the BOSCO Uganda Project and your role in the project? How did you become interested in working in the HCI field.BOSCO Uganda (Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach) is a rural communications project based in Gulu, Northern Uganda. It was launched in 2007 as a solar-powered, long-range wireless network covering locations in former Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across several districts in Northern Uganda. Using adequate, low-power computer equipment BOSCO brought access to the Internet for schools, youth groups and health centers in rural areas.The first implementing phase in 2007 was carried out by Inveneo and BOSCO, Inc. from the United States, with major support from private donors and other activists in the US, under the umbrella of Gulu Archdiocese as the local implementing partner in Uganda.

    My own involvement as a Technical Advisor (based in Gulu) began early 2008 and ended just recently. It was initiated through HORIZONT3000 (Austrian Organisation for Development Co-Operation) and its personnel program, whose main objective is to support capacity building for local organizations in the developing world. For BOSCO, I was mainly focusing on organizational development and technical capacity building for Ugandan staff.

    Thus, in 2008, we started to establish BOSCO as a local organization in order to maintain and expand the rural ICT infrastructure, to provide further trainings for its users, and to become a reliable implementing partner in ICT4D in the whole region of Northern Uganda.

    Meanwhile BOSCO has been internationally awarded with the “Breaking Borders Award” (by Google and Global Voices) in 2010 and also attracted other international donors, like Unicef, supporting further expansion and more advanced trainings.

    The interview continues with the following questions:

  2. What kind of design challenges did you face with the project and how did you overcome these design challenges?
  3. What kind of lessons do you take from your experience at BOSCO and how do you plan to apply them in the contexts of other cultures?
  4. In terms of contextual innovation and user experience design, what steps do you take in the design process?
  5. Many contest that HCI is one of the first aspects considered in many ICT4D project, do you see ICT4D primarily as a Design Challenge?
  6. An issue that seems to weigh heavy in the use context of ICT’s in developing regions is linguistic variation. How do you foresee ICT4D practitioners, researchers and implementers overcoming the challenges of illiteracy, multilingualism and dialectal variation?
  7. What advice do you have for those designing information systems for the developing world?

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