The CoLab is a project partner of the development of the Mfunzi mobile application being developed at the Mzumbe University in Tanzania. This is a sister-app of the UDUBSit project at UWC.
The Living Labs approach was utilised to develop a detailed Needs Analysis Report.
A recent article in Telematics &Informatics 2015 by Prof Leo van Audenhove and Dr Dorien Baelden summarised some of the key challenges and opportunities in developing a mobile application within this deep rural context:
"The ICT4D field has for a long time focussed on rather unilinear processes of technology transfer. This focus was initially caused by the short time frames in which key actors in the ICT4D field had to operate. Different authors acknowledge that the ICT4D ideology has to be reconceptualised, recognizing the fact that technology is not neutral and that context and cultural complexity need to be taken into account in its development. This article argues that the living lab approach, involving the end user in the process of problem identification, technology design, implementation and evaluation, might be a suitable approach to move towards a more participatory ICT4D framework. The underlying study investigates how a location-based and community-oriented mobile app could improve the quality of life of Tanzanian University students. The research was part of an ongoing living lab study in order to gain insights into the local context and ensure a user-centric approach. The outcomes suggest that a mobile app can support student life in several ways, but that location-based services are not likely to be massively adopted and infrastructural limitations should be taken into account. The results demonstrate that ICT4D projects can benefit from adopting participative practices and that living lab research is an adequate tool to do so."
Read more about the Mfunzi App here