Dear Azra and Chitra Team, Thank you for your work! This sounds like an important project and I find the fact that you are trying to tackle an issue in a very preemptive way—i.e. trying to understand the underlying circumstances (environment, culture, economics) that are then leading to health issues and outbreaks is very important. It's also great to leverage an existing resource--in this case the health workers. I do have some questions/concerns about how to incentivize everyone to start using your technology.
While my expertise does not lie in health, here are a few thoughts in response to your inquiries that I hope might be of use! 1 - How can we structure our pilot to be widely applicable and our results to be replicable elsewhere? I think it would be good to try and make sure of the likeliness of healthcare workers to use your program and have a solid understanding of what might prevent them from doing so. Your product will only work if it is used, and I would say starting there is the most important—namely making sure people will make use of your service. Even if they express that there is an issue and that they love your idea, they might not always change their habits to use the potential solution and new technology you are mentioning—even if they are driven deep down by making a greater and more efficient impact and even if they have been involved in your pilot phase/design thinking. My concern would be about having the proof that you have a strategy to make sure the app will be used. Can the government be involved somehow to create incentives? Is there an alternate way to motivate workers to use it? Apologies in advance of course if this has been addressed somewhere and I have missed it! 2 - How can we determine the robustness of our evaluation measures for the success of the intervention, given its curative and preventative health aspects? I noticed the funds requested are going to developing the app. That can be expensive and might be a capital cost that can be avoided. Is there a simplified version of the app that can be used before investing money in building the full on version of it? It also sounds like there are many other apps doing something similar so there might be some way to collaborate. Perhaps the greater amount of work is ensuring people will actually use the app rather than the apps’ results. This might be where most of the thinking should go. Monetary investment might also be of use to sensitize the healthcare workers and find ways to motivate them to use the app and eventually create more sustainability.
3 - How do we place ourselves strategically during the pilot to be able to target scale at the end of the pilot? I think it is worth establishing solid relationships/partnerships on the grounds. This sounds like a project that would thrive through collaboration and support from other players in the space—not just NGO, but private and government sectors as well.
Hi Chloe, Congratulations on your work and making it to the next phase! I love that this project is looking at the importance of thinking beyond survival mode and recognizing the importance of letting everyone live a childhood that encapsulates all aspects of learning, having fun, and being part of a community. Regarding your questions: 1) Community building: even though we envision this solution as a plug & play, we realize there needs to be a community program that helps foster play as a tool for peace in the camps, either by having refugee parents lead playtime or educators help. We have been testing some program ideas the refugee community had but would like further advice on what to avoid and what to design for.
That’s a good issue to think about. I think it’s critical to build networks on the ground and leverage both local and International NGOs. I also would love to hear more about the testing/pilot phase, and how likely the community is to use the product, so this might be something to think about more, especially as you look to become self-sustainable. Also, are there no other existing games that might be used to bring the same set of benefits mentioned? It seems a lot of what you are trying to bring to children is their opportunity to in fact be children—to play, to play games with others, to play games that also foster their cognitive and intellectual development. I’m not expert in child development, but would it be conceivable that other such toys and boxes already exist on the market and include these attributes? Would there be a way to imagine a way to use or recycle already existing toys/used toys that can be donated to save capital costs?
2) Business Development: we are committed to not make this a one off product/project. We do want to sustainably scale this project so it lives beyond one off funding and becomes part of what every NGO sends to a refugee camp within the first 48 hours of a crisis. We have been tinkering with various ideas on how to do that and would love further feedback.
I think this would come within the negotiations with NGOs directly and making sure your product fits their programming. Have you heard of Libraries without Borders? I think they have a similar project to yours with something related to education and reading. Might be interesting to reach out to them in case you haven't! https://www.librarieswithoutborders.org/ideasbox/
3) Resources/Challenges: Are we missing some important resource? What do you think will be the largest challenge or struggle with making this project actually happen. Is there an opportunity for tapping to an existing resource that we don't know off?
While I'm not an expert, I think sustainability and convincing people of the urgency of your idea might come up as a challenge. Perhaps, your key is partnering with organizations and integrating your idea into their programs for children. Have you considered looking into what the IRC/Sesame Workshop are doing? It might be interesting to explore already existing children/community building programming and building/adapting in line with what they are doing. I think that overall, the challenge is much larger and more systematic of the humanitarian space—that organizations don’t have enough resources to consider children’s play as as important as other needs, like livelihoods, or food and shelter. It might be worth tapping into large toy companies to see if they would partner with you as part of their social good/CSR initiatives. This could possibly create more sustainable avenues for funding.
Hi Jon, Great work and interesting project for you and the Oxfam team! Definitely seems like there is tremendous potential if all goes smoothly with funding and with the Jordanian authorities. It’s great to show that there are indeed temporary solutions that are also durable, low cost, and mindful of human dignity. And if it doesn’t work in Jordan it might be an option that can be implemented in other regions and even with non-refugee communities but simply populations who are struggling with adequate housing worldwide! Regarding your questions- 1-How could we reduce costs of SuperAdobe in innovative ways? What other innovations could be used within SuperAdobe to make the spaces more like home? I have no architecture background, so a bit of a tough question for me, however potentially constructing community centers as part of the homes might be a nice way to foster community feelings and support other activities in the camp? I do think that the fact that these homes are built by the individuals living in them themselves will naturally lead to them giving the most relevant suggestions!
How could we ensure SuperAdobe is in line with Shelter specific standards? I would say it’s best to check with international organizations’ standards such as the UN.
In other areas in the world (especially in a refugee crises) how has SuperAdobe gained acceptance and approval by government? I am not sure whether you’re asking how it can or how it has…I think SuperAdobe might best be piloted in other regions, where governments are less concerned with the massive numbers of refugees in their county and more open to exploring solutions to helping them live decently. It might also be worth showing the benefits for Jordanians themselves and exploring whether these homes can support a certain part of the Jordanian population too.