Thank you for your questions on the prototyping process we have been going through.
Our first prototype session on 24th June was purely to test and learn about the fundamental principle of our idea, which is to make the hubs community led and to handover creative control to the refugees and community that will be using the space. Therefore the hypothesis we were testing was:
‘Refugees with limited or no access to a safe learning space will show interest and provide suggestions on how their community, supported by Xavier Project, could set up a hub with the view of forming management committees to facilitate this.’
To do this we needed to pilot the process of gathering members of the community, conducting an engagement exercise and then presenting the idea of the hubs to them to generate interest in setting up management committees. We were interested in the reaction of the attendees and feedback that they could provide. For this reason, we started with a group discussion on safe learning spaces and accessibility.
The prototype was a community meeting led by Xavier Project staff. The reason we prototyped this stage over any other stage of the process was that it enabled us to have direct contact with potential beneficiaries who, of course, can give the most accurate and beneficial suggestions and feedback so that we are able to develop and improve the process.
As already mentioned under the ‘Prototype’ section our learning’s include:
• A larger turn up than expected • An overwhelming number of suggestions of what could be included in the hub. We learnt that there are many other avenues and activities that the community would like then originally assumed • We also learnt that the idea did not appeal or raised barriers for women and elderly participants as the number that attended was low compared to men aged 22 – 28
Yes, you are correct about the second prototype to an extent. We were interested to find out if our presentation and community meeting could lead into an actual management committee. Here we were very much testing the level of interest and if this interest could be translated into a functioning group of people. It depends how you define prototype but I believe it was a prototype as the group of people are our first model and their actions and the way the meeting was held has allowed us to analyse this stage of the process. I agree it also had a research side to it too; surely these go hand in hand.
The ‘needs assessment exercise’ approach was taken as these projects are completely community run and used by the community of the management and therefore there would be absolutely no point in trying to set up a hub where it is not wanted/needed. Conducting the research reinforced our assumptions that these centres would be an asset to these areas of Kampala and therefore we would not be wasting time or resources.
The second prototype allows us to see the interaction and formation of a management committee and the dynamics involved in this. The session on 28th June provided us with this.
Things we learnt from prototype 2:
• People arrived very well prepared with preprepared notes, this taught us that we could find people who were really thinking about their individual contribution to the process and that this handover of creative control and management will hopefully come with ease • The attendees wanted to immediately create roles within the committee. This showed us that having these structures in place could make the process more efficient and ‘user friendly’
We have learnt a lot about inclusion from our first two Tamuka Hubs, our Hub in Nsambya is mainly frequented by DR Congolese due to the nature of the location and from this experience we have many strategies to combat one nationality dominating the space. During the Ideo process we have seen a development of our current Hubs and from what we have learnt we are going to introduce a management committee which will be made up of different nationalities, this will mean that a multitude of interests, representations and inputs from different nationalities will be covered. It will also mean that cultural issues that perhaps are not obvious can be brought to the table. Approaching community leaders of different nationalities will also help to bring in people as it will be made clear that it is for everyone through our marketing strategy and presentations we will be making about the Hubs. If we can create a feeling of community within the Hub this will also promote cohesion. Perhaps setting up a football team, debate club or choir could help with this and strip down any barriers between nationalities.
As far as gender and age inclusion is concerned we also have gathered ideas through trial and error in our current Hubs. There are many barriers for females to access the Hub such as strict religious practices, parental control on where their daughters are allowed to visit and perhaps (as we have seen in Nsambya with our computer courses) the ICT sector is not seen as a feminine vocation by some parts of society. We would like to suggest to the management committees that they introduce times where there will be exclusive groups only, such as having a morning where only women have access to computers. Also by having a wide range of trainings, activities and resources we can attract women and a variety of ages more easily. Providing an area for children, whether it be a library or play area, will mean more children will attend and mothers will be able to bring children with them and therefore will not be so restricted to these learning opportunities.
If you have any other ideas please do let us know! We are always trying to promote inclusion and a wide range of nationalities, ages, genders and backgrounds to our Hubs.
Thank you for your comment. I have looked at your idea and it looks like a really interesting concept. Conflict resolution workshops are something that we would like to introduce further into our Hubs if the users and management committees agree that it would be of use. The promotion of interpersonal and intercultural communication is of huge importance especially for our desired goal of complete integration into Ugandan society for our beneficiaries.
At Xavier Project our main focus is on urban refugees as that's our specialism. At the moment we are just looking at expanding our Tamuka Hubs within Kampala and can see a real need and want for them here. However, this does not mean in the future that we will not eventually expand into the settlements but at the moment we are staying within our current limits.
Do you think the MOOC Course would be suitable to use within an urban setting and if so are you looking to introduce it? Perhaps this is something we could collaborate on.