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Refugee Education Challenge Community Prototyper – Prototyping with Experience Maps

Photo of SIDDHARTH PRIYADARSHI
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Siddharth Priyadarshi is our current volunteer Community Prototyper for the Refugee Education Challenge. You'll see him popping up across the Refinement Phase with handy tips about prototyping – and posting community updates here like a true champion!


Hi all! My name is Siddharth and I am the Community Prototyper for the Refugee Education Challenge. I am here to provide you with tips and tricks that will help you prototype, test and get feedback on your ideas.

Prototyping is a learning process and is not about getting things right the very first time. The process enables you to learn through making, and will also help you collect feedback from the community that you are designing for. Rapid prototyping is an iterative process that allows you to continuously build and test out your idea. The process also involves co-creating with your intended target demographic.

Image Contribution: Edmund Page, Xavier Project: Tamuka Hubs

One of the ideas in the refinement phase of this challenge is from the Xavier Project, who has been working on the Tamuka Hub for refugees in Kampala, Uganda. This team has described their idea in one sentence as: “To provide safe learning spaces in Kampala for refugees which will be managed and owned by the community.

Some of you may have used an Experience Map to test out your ideas. The Xavier team is pretty amazing and has already successfully created an experience map shown above.



How do we decide what needs to be tested first?

As you can see, any idea will always have a number of components that can be tested. A good way to start is to sit together with your team and look at all the scenarios mapped out in the experience map. Your team can vote and prioritize from the features and then pick one that is high on the priority list to test via prototyping.

The Tamuka Hub concept is divided into three different “Output” levels as we can see from the storyboard above. The Xavier Team is planning on using the refinement phase to prototype and test the effectiveness of the first Output phase.

Based on what the Xavier team had expressed, I have created a series of more detailed scenarios to test out the assumptions behind the “Management Committee Formation” component of this idea. The new scenarios that we have created can be used to validate the assumptions during the prototyping process.

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What do you think has to be true for this idea to work?

In Output 1 (first phase), the Xavier team members will plan to visit a selected area in Kampala where they will provide details of their idea, confirm/update aspects of their needs assessment and invite groups to come forward to create a Management Committee. The management committee can eventually grow to manage a Tamuka Hub.

The underlying assumption is that the participants of Output 1 will have enough information and awareness of one another’s needs, cultural diversity and backgrounds to be able to form groups with common agendas/goals.


What questions would you want to ask in order to find out if this is true?

After the Management Committee prototyping session, these questions may be asked to find out if the initial assumptions are true:

How was working together? What do you think went well and what do you think went poorly? What surprised you about the prototyping session?



How can our assumptions can be tested?

The initial Management Committee test-run may use the following activities to test our underlying assumptions.


  • Recruit Community  Gather refugees from different parts of Kampala to participate in the first Management Committee prototyping session.


  • Conduct Survey  Conduct a group survey at beginning of the session to see how familiar the refugees are with each other. The survey will indicate how diverse the group of participants is and what affiliations they had with each other prior to the meeting.


  • Co-creation Activity – As a group, identify a topic of discussion and set the agenda for the first community meeting. The group can use the session to collaboratively brainstorm on ideas that are relevant to the success of the Tamuka Output programs. For example, the group can identify the types of educational resources and training programs that they would like to have in their Tamuka Hubs.


  • Community Sign-Up  Provide a sign-up sheet to see if participants are willing to form groups and stay in contact for the next meeting. Follow up with the volunteers who have expressed interest in organizing the next Management Committee prototyping session.


  • Collect User Feedback  Use the next Management Committee prototyping session run by the group of refugee volunteers as an opportunity to collect feedback from the community members. The feedback will be used to validate the underlying assumption that the participants will have enough information and awareness of one another’s needs, cultural diversity and backgrounds to be able to form groups with common agendas/goals.  The feedback questions may consist of: How was working together? What do you think went well and what do you think went poorly? What surprised you about the prototyping session?



Who will benefit from this idea and how will you monitor its success?

This idea is intended to benefit both the native Ugandans and the refugees. The Xavier team wants to maximize the potential and learning opportunities of the meetings/presentations. An increase in awareness amongst participants leading to the formation of a management committee by the end of the refinement phase is a measure of success.

Always remember that the goal of the prototype is to test your idea with your target demographic by collecting as much feedback as possible. You can use any of the tools from Design Kit or create your own prototype. So go ahead and test your idea within your community.


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