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Last Mile Media with the Kibanda Boda

A solar powered, motorcycle mounted microcinema that brings video education out of the darkness and into the day for girls and refugees.

Photo of Paul
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What problem does your innovation solve?

It is difficult to bring visual entertainment education and video training to areas with little access to traditional media. Advocates who use film and video to teach must rely on mobile cinema--where large screens, generators and projector systems are brought to rural areas. But this solution is expensive, unwieldy, environmentally unsound and does not lend itself to repeat visits, which boosts learning. Furthermore, it requires girls and women to travel in darkness to attend night screenings.

Explain your innovation.

In Luganda, a "kibanda" is a small video hall. A "boda boda" is a motorcycle. The "Kibanda Boda" is the combination of the two! Kibanda Boda is a self powered micro-mobile cinema that can fill the gap in the areas of low screen saturation and provide an unparalleled source of educational entertainment, video training and other visual teaching. Mounted to the back of a motorcycle, the Kibanda Boda can go where other screens can't: to the most remote villages and reaching the most underserved populations. Unlike any projector based mobile cinema, the Kibanda Boda can screen content during the day/in bright sunlight, therefore, not limiting the exposure to evening hours. Not only that, the Kibanda Boda is powered by a combination of solar power and energy from the motorcycle, allowing it to go off-grid without the smoke and noise of generators. Our next goal is to develop partnerships to scale this project to address crises and resilience in refugee settlements (both urban and rural areas). We will integrate this with a customized mobile app that geo-tags, photographs and digitally records survey information from screenings in real time.

Who benefits?

During piloting, our partners at GADC doubled their female attendees from 30% to 60% of the audience when they switched from a traditional mobile cinema model to Kibanda Boda to show farmer to farmer videos in some of the most remote communities in Uganda. We want to work with other organizations to scale that change and to bring it to more marginalized communities where a little bit of information can go a long way toward changing lives.

How is your innovation unique?

Kibanda Boda is the evolution of mobile cinema for development. We used Human Centered Design to work with local communities and NGOs to develop a tool that fit their needs more closely. In comparison to traditional mobile cinema, Kibanda Boda is lightweight, affordable, portable and can easily access remote areas and return to the same communities over time. While projectors have become more powerful and affordable over the years, they still require women to leave their homes at night to take part in screenings. The Kibanda Boda by contrast works during the day and in public spaces, allowing women, children and a broader cross section of the community access to educational content. There are similar projects. Internews has a "Boda Boda Talk Talk" that is audio only. Electric Pedals in the UK creates bicycle powered microcinema, but it does not solve the problem of providing content during the day.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Who are the right partners to work with on this project? What content is the most impactful for our audience? Who is making that content or has access to it? Our app can measure and record audience size, but how do we measure impact? Who is the right design partner to build the next iteration? How many more times should we iterate before we scale? And when we do scale, how many of these units should we build and bring to the field?

Tell us more about you.

PVI is an award-winning 6 year old media innovation firm working in SubSaharan Africa. We partner with local NGOs to help them reach broad audiences in ways that are smarter, more powerful and more efficient than traditional methods. Our work is research driven and focuses on appropriate technology.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Since mid-2016, the population of refugees in Uganda has more than doubled to over 1.2 million, making it the third largest in the world. Refugees continue to arrive in Uganda en masse, and the average arrival rate is 2,000+ refugees (mostly women and children) per day. Children are the face of the refugee crisis in Uganda, representing almost 60% of the population. A formal five year strategy bridging the gap between phases in humanitarian and development interventions includes targeting youth.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

As a start, we would begin in the rural north west region of Uganda (Yumbe, Adjumani, Arua, Moyo, Lamwo) and in the central urban city of Kampala, which is the home of our media innovation lab and studio, and where almost 100,000 refugees are living. Other than the name, Kibanda Boda would not need to be tailored to be effective elsewhere in other countries or continents.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

For the last six years, PVI has partnered with dozens of NGOs to produce, distribute and research media innovation and design in East Africa. The Kibanda Boda project has partnered with a number of organizations through its prototyping and iteration phases. These include testing early versions with Raising Voices and the Gulu Agricultural Development Corporation. We will also be working as part of a coalition organized by The World Bank to pilot the tool in Tanzania in Q3 2017.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

PVI has been working for several years in last mile media, with several projects in final refinement prior to scale phase. Human rights and education are cross cutting themes in each of our program areas for social change - health, livelihoods and citizenship - and we utilize our internal staff and external partners to develop entertaining, educational content. We deliver this content by any means necessary, including guerrilla tactics and out of home distribution.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

We have registered NGO entities in both the United States and Uganda. The majority of our staff live and work full time in East Africa.


How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

We ran a prototype partnership in N.Uganda giving us real time feedback from users, supplemented by a workshop in Kampala. Based on this we are upgrading the KB technology to further improve its reach. Expert feedback has shaped our collaboration conversations with leading education organizations on content partnerships; our research team are developing an ME&L toolkit to provide real-time learning; and a business case is being developed to ensure cost-efficient scale-up and sustainability.

Who will implement this Idea?

PVI has a team in East Africa, including specialists in content-creation and production, complimented by a central team in NYC. PVI’s expertise is to provide the technology and media strategy to support partners in using last mile media to reach displaced communities. By embedding this into partners’ pre-existing initiatives, we can leverage further impact from their networks and historical expertise. This enables cost-effective scale (avoiding creating parallel programs). PVI enters partnership rooted in values of true collaboration, validated learning & flexibility to grow together.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

Our end users are the children, teachers & communities displaced by conflict in South Sudan and DRC, living in communities in Northern Uganda. Language and cultural barriers mean integrating into society, but the education system is a challenge, often made worse by the settlements’ rural settings, disconnected from resources provided by local government. Teachers lack training and resources; parents can’t access vital information; and the students, our most important user, face overcrowded classrooms with poor teaching & learning. KB creates a portal for users to access leading Ugandan and global knowledge. Working with all players in the system, PVI & its partners can maximize existing resources and sustainably bridge the access gap in an affordable and scalable way.

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

PVI is at a pivotal moment, looking to scale our work sustainably by expanding our business model and diversifying our funding. This allows us to remain nimble, engage multiple perspectives, and generate alternative income sources outside donor funding. We have worked with consultants specializing in sustainability to streamline our approach, and are developing our strategic offering to partners: unique technology, expertise and specialist teams. Through earned-income large partnerships, we can collaborate with more partners pro bono who support women and the educationally disadvantaged.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

IM: In 3 years, KB aims to collaborate with partners to support teachers directly, meaning over 120,000 children have access to higher quality education. By 2021, we will scale this through a bilateral partnership to improve the lives of more children in displaced settings across East Africa. Q: KB is best leveraged in partnership with existing initiatives, to reach scale in a cost-efficient way. Given this model, how can we ensure consistency in learning, process evaluation, and impact?

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

Our combination of small data (operational mapping – type of KB use and attendance; monitoring metrics & qualitative studies – focus groups & case studies to capture impact on our users) and big data (rigorous evaluation & long-term user experience) promotes an evidence-driven culture. The first year generates formative learning that will be captured via real-time through mobile technology, and an independent process evaluation in partnership with scholars to ensure integrity of key findings

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Months 1-4: finalizing KB scalable prototype Months 3-6: fabrication and shipping to field, training workflow developed for field implementation, including training Months 6-12: revenue driven partnership development and implementation, supplemented with continuing iteration of business and physical design Months 12-...: Scaling and refinement

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $500,000 and $1,000,000 USD

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • More than 2 years

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Development / Partnerships Support
  • Product Design


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christel

What an interesting concept. Is there a potential to utilize this in the means of a virtual classroom? The reason I ask is sometimes in refugee situations there is such an influx of students that there are not enough teachers to be found to teach. If we could utilize premade lessons, it might help in this area.

Photo of Paul

That is a fantastic idea, and precisely the kind of programming that we developed this distribution tool for. Our model is to partner with organizations who work on specific service delivery or Social and Behavioral Change Communication campaigns. This partnership model ensures that each member plays to their own strengths. In the case of Kibanda Boda, our strength is Distribution and our goal is to work with partners who are producing content, but lack the capacity to reach audiences in the last mile. A partner developing content for a virtual classroom would be a perfect match.

Photo of Christel

Thanks for the information.

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Hi Paul. This is a very interesting idea, this model really fits well with the model you described; educating rural farmers. There is a show here in Kenya that airs on Citizen TV known as Shamba Shap Up. I have always felt that it is not targeting the right people since most of the people who watch TVs are in towns and cities and a large majority don't practice farming. Kibanda Boda would be a very suitable delivery channel for such show since the content will reach the rural farmers (I don't think we have urban farmers in Africa anyway :) ) who really need the advice provided.

Maybe you can reach out to them and hear what they have to say! All the best

Photo of Paul

Right?! You get it, Kim. We've always believed that great edutainment often fails to reach the most important, remote and/or marginalized audiences because they are the least likely to have televisions in their homes. Our NGO was founded to help bridge those gaps. One of our core programs is called Crowdpullerz, in which we distribute DVDs with partner content to screens in public places--where one DVD can reach many, many eyes. Over the last five years we've been to more than 40,000 bars, long distance buses, beauty salons and small cinemas called "bibanda" with this program. But some areas are so remote that there isn't a single screen. Kibanda Boda was designed to bridge this last mile for our partner organizations.
Shamba Shap Up sounds like a great program and we will take a look. Thanks for the tip and for your great feedback!

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Paul, thanks for contributing to the Challenge! I have a followup question to Nisha Ligon 's question. How do you decide on the content you create? Would love a few more details about the specifics of the project you are proposing for this Challenge.

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Paul

Hi Ashley. Thank you for your question!
PVI's model is to partner with organizations who work on specific service delivery or Social and Behavioral Change Communication campaigns. This partnership model ensures that each member plays to their own strengths. In the case of Kibanda Boda, our strength is Distribution and our goal is to work with partners who are producing content, but lack the capacity to reach audiences in the last mile. In the pilot mentioned in this proposal, our partners were creating participatory "farmer to farmer" videos that taught more impactful practices for small shareholder farmers. In another pilot, we worked with Raising Voices who used the Kibanda Boda to show media that they produced to prevent violence against children. Our goal is to amplify local voices, not do all the talking.
That said, our organization is also a content creator that has worked with dozens of organizations to produce media. So we have the capacity to work with partners who might not have content already created. We are best known for our award winning "Newz Beat" program: a youth focused news program that delivers the news through hip-hop and that is broadcast nationally on NTV in Uganda.

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Paul, thanks that's really helpful information!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Paul, great to have you in the Challenge! Just wanted to remind you of the deadline in case you wanted to submit to the Challenge. The Ideas Phase closes June 25 at 11:30PM PST. Make sure your idea is published so others can see it! Only published ideas are eligible.