Written by Innocent Basso
My name is Innocent Basso, and I am interning with g.maarifa. I am a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, focusing on Economics. Today I joined the g.Maarifa staff for field research in Kibera and met with two focus groups in order to introduce and test our SMS technology. There were ten participants in each group. They were put in pairs which received one testing phone. The attendance was very assuring although, not surprisingly, a few members walked in a few minutes late.
We began by introducing the basic idea of the technology. Today’s info texts were based on easy, non- contextual material developed to familiarize the focus groups with the technology. The pairs easily registered themselves by sending a text with a specific code to a number we gave them. From then on, the pairs proceeded to read the texts they received and to answer the questions when they were prompted. This process went very smoothly for both focus groups, but of course there were a few requests for clarification, for example, whether to reply in uppercase or lowercase letters.
At the end of both sessions, we asked the participants for feedback on the technology. Most of them were happy with the technology, and said they found it very easy to use. We observed that the time lapse between confirmation of enrollment and the first info text was a bit long and we are working on cutting it down. We also received questions such as if they would be able to use the technology on their own phones, and we said yes and assured them that the technology is compatible with all phones.
We ended the sessions with the discussion about the pricing of the product. We were interested in knowing what the participant felt was a suitable price they were willing to pay. To my surprise, a majority were willing to pay a higher price than it is set, that is 700 Kshs, some even saying they were willing to give up to 2000 Kshs. Overall, today’s sessions were very successful and helpful to us and the focus groups in understanding better the strengths and shortcomings of the product.