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BRCK innovative learning pilot​

Provision of free Wi-Fi hotspots to facilitate access to risk communication on Covid-19, business training, and gender-based violence key messages, and enabling communities to earn free points to spend/access internet for free.

Posted on 03 Nov 2022

The pilot in brief

Covid-19 regulations saw Eastleigh (a community hosting a large number of refugees in Nairobi) being locked down just like other parts of Kenya. Travel and sanitary restrictions reduced refugee access to services such as education and support provided by aid providers.

The implementation of prevention measures were further challenged due to limited access to running water, basic sanitation, and hygiene. There were also rumours and misinformation causing significant pandemic-related fears, which threatened to undermine response efforts and also presented the risk of a public health problem growing into a peace and security problem in unstable areas.

Incentivizing people to earn internet points by learning more about Covid-19 (in times of lockdown and misinformation on the pandemic) and adoption of appropriate practices was done through behavior change communication videos curated with content from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). The pilot also provided access to business training materials for business owners and entrepreneurs, and access to educational material for children unable to attend school due to Covid-19.

The funds enabled DRC Urban program to reach 6,000 views on material/or content provided on the platform in a time where access and movement were restricted due to Covid-19 regulations such as curfews. This can reasonably be assumed to have contributed to the reduction of Covid-19 spread in the locality of the hotspots.

Watch the video on BRCK-DRC pilot project

The pilot project presents an opportunity to critically rethink on the initial intent and adjust steps (where appropriate) e.g. having M&E framework, influencing agenda to shape the sector. This should be clear from the start for the purposes of improving innovation in program design for displacement-affected populations.

/  BRCK learning brief Nov. 2021

Project impact

The project ended on 31.05.2021. Two surveys were conducted in April 2021 to gauge the project impact. In one of the surveys, it highlighted 38.71% of users (out of 124 respondents) as very satisfied with the Wi-Fi/hotspot; 25% finding it easy to navigate; and 44% likely to recommend to others (based on content learned).

Over 2,200 unique users connected to DRC Masomo from December 2020. Beneficiaries were able to access content and valuable information provided by DRC relating to Covid-19 awareness, protection, gender based violence, livelihoods and business.

The pilot reached 6,000 views on material/or content provided in the platform in a time where access and movement was restricted due to Covid-19 regulations (i.e. curfews) and can reasonably be assumed to have contributed to the reduction of Covid-19 spread in the locality of the hotspots.

The pilot project's delivery/implementation was through a consultancy model and not through local partners. DRC engaged BRCK consulting firm to install the free Wi-Fi and run the system throughout the project period. DRC developed the learning information, tools and satisfaction surveys. DRC also used the Covid-19 prevention health information provided by the Kenyan government.


Pilot to scale

Focus need to be paid to strong community engagement activities. Businesses hosting the hotspot equipment within the community can also be encouraged to onboard their clients through incentives such as advertising their business on the platform, providing free data bundles or a small hosting fee to cover electricity costs for the equipment. These will help onboard new users and provide regular feedback to improve services and ensure a good user experience is maintained.

It's important to to define success in the initial stages of designing the project supported by clear M&E system for proper measurement and reporting supported by kick off meeting with stakeholders to clarify objectives and expectations as well as define responsibilities.

For replication, more coordination and consultative process between different stakeholders and within DRC is essential to create a common understanding of the pilot projects (design and implementation) including joint analysis on partnerships - conduct a market assessment/analysis on digital tech service providers (strength and weakness etc.) to inform engagement. This pilot project was a good initiative that has the potential of scalability, relevance for DRC work in the country and global level (influencing others to adopt them). The experimental (pilot programming sense) nature is healthy in terms of positioning DRC as a thought leader in innovative programming design and places it as to go to Organization for matters affecting the displaced populations.

Based on information generated as well as emerging contextual issues e.g. camp closure, the plan is to develop concept notes and proactively reach out to potential partners (with resources, technical reinforcements to past work etc.) for joint programming and fundraising (beyond current DRC foot print areas/location and explore other sectoral focus in digital delivery e.g. peace building).

This Pilot aimed at providing free Wi-Fi hotspots in areas hosting refugees and host community in Eastleigh and Mlango Kubwa (in Nairobi) to facilitate access to risk communication on covid 19 for over 1,000 users/month, over 600 entrepreneurs to have access to offline business training during first 3 month and over 500 students to have access to offline education content and gender-based violence key messages with the option to expand to two additional location after initial 3 months. The free Wi-Fi platform provided users the ability to do digital work and earn “Points”. These points could be spent on accessing the internet for free. The platform could also host offline content which was openly available without needing points.

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