Mobile Matooke

After a weekend of acclimating to Kampala, today was our first day at the office. We are spending the final three months of our sabbatical volunteering with the Grameen Foundation on their Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project. CKW is a Gates Foundation-funded project that aims to improve the livelihoods of small-holder farmers through the use of mobile technology. Trusted community members are nominated as CKWs, and then equipped with a smart phone that contains software that will connect to the CKW system. They use the software to conduct surveys with the rural farmers, and also to disseminate agricultural information such as weather patterns and remedies for crop diseases.

We’ll be helping with the architecture and design of the system, as well as training and capacity-building for both the CKW team and developers in the Kampala area. Hopefully we’ll also have the opportunity to make a few field visits to the rural farming communities that are adopting the CKW platform.

The office is located down the street from our apartment, which makes for a simple enough commute. Unfortunately I’m spoiled from Mae Hong Son, and the fumes from the ten minute walk in Kampala traffic made me a bit light-headed this morning.

In some ways, this assignment provides an interesting transition to our “real life” back in Seattle – we’re the senior technical staff on a software project, prices in Kampala are much closer to Seattle than India or Thailand, and even the view from the office looks quite a bit like Queen Anne hill. Of course, Seattle lacks delicious mangoes,  zebras, and the Equator.

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