Our first official report!

The most important muscle in an engineer’s body is the bum. In December 2014 we used ours a lot. Luckily, in exchange for all the arse aches something valuable was created. Thus, we’d like to present to you, dear reader, our Fieldwork Report!

This document sums up everything we learned from our field trip to Uganda. First you’ll find general information about our project, our methodology and the fieldwork. Then you get to the good part: we’ll show the analysis performed after the trip, and finally elaborate the findings made.

You can download the whole document here.

Happy reading! And remember to question everything!




Shedding light: our process and ideas

Ahoy again!

Think of this post as a beacon in the shore of a stormy ocean. This post wants to help you get the big picture.

Below you can see a simple picture of what phases our team has gone through and what it plans to do next.


But then again, there’s more to it than that. Continuing from where the last brainstorming post left off, we want to present you some more of our ideas in a more understandable form. Take a look!



Enter the storm

The best thing about innovative projects is that you can go crazy every once in a while. If your Google Drive is bulging with unanalyzed data and you’re struggling with finding proper methods to look into it, just drop everything for a minute and do something fun. Say, how about ideating? Ditch all logic and let intuition take the wheel.

Once the brainstorm settles, take a deep breath and look at what you did. Then shoot a quick video of all the ideas with your smartphone.

Then post the video on your project blog. Enjoy! The team conducted these two and many more sessions in the fall.



With star-shaped regards,

How to rock the co-creation workshops

One of our most successful approaches for understanding the children’s point of view and retrieving their ideas was the co-creation workshop. It is a practical method that allows deepening the understanding of the problems and even identifying preliminary solutions. The steps we followed for doing this workshop are summarized below, using the hand-washing facilities and latrine workshop as an example.

Photo by Elli

Aryna taking notes during the workshop. Photo by Elli

In the preparation phase, two concrete challenges were selected: 1) How to improve the smell in the latrines, and 2) How to increase the amount of children that wash their hands. These problems were written in a simple way, including a preamble for the problem and illustrations. The idea was to make a complicated problem easy to understand for the children, delivering it in a familiar style (i.e. school homework).

On the day of the workshop, four boys (two from P3 and two from P4) and four girls (two from P3 and two from P4) were randomly chosen between the volunteers. The facilitators (Nicolas and Elli) started the session with three rounds of energizers (games that intend to make the participants more relaxed and talkative). Afterwards, the participants were asked to work in pairs (same gender and same class) over one specific problem; team spirit was fomented by asking the children to pick their team names –Real Madrid, Man City, Liverpool and Lion. The given task was to write down five possible solutions for the assigned problem.

Team Lion workin! Photo by Elli

Team Lion workin! Photo by Elli

One hour later, recess started in the school so the participants left to play with their classmates. They were asked to return after the break for the second phase on the workshop. In the meanwhile, the facilitators read the ideas of the children and selected one per team for further development.

When the participants returned, the facilitators conducted another round of energizers. Then, the children were asked to draw the selected ideas; details and clarifications were encouraged during the drawing time. Finally, each of the teams was asked to present their ideas orally to the rest of the groups, while the facilitators stood with them and asked for clarifications when necessary.

Presenting the idea. Children seemed to like bright colors. Photo by Elli

Presenting the idea. Children seemed to like bright colors. Photo by Elli

It was surprising that the children of the other teams were actively participating during the presentations as they were usually shy during other activities. Thanks to their questions and commentaries, we were able to collect even more information and further comprehending the problems.

Taking a mixed group was a risk since girls could have been intimidated by the boys or the male facilitator, but we managed to overcome this issue by using two facilitators. This proved to be an outstanding solution as the girls were very shy when Nicolas addressed them but were rather talkative when Elli approached them.

At the end of the day, we returned to Gulu with lots of data, a big smile in our faces, and awesome drawings to share with the rest of the team.


Nicolás and the boys. Photo by Antti


So started the fieldwork!

For our actual research, we headed of to Nwoya district in the Gulu region, northern Uganda. The road was bumpy and dusty but we reached our destination usually after 1h25 of hectic driving. At the Purongo Hill Primary School, there was load of smiling kids and amazing staff waiting for us and eager to help us in our research. During six sunny days we conducted interviews, focus group discussions, participatory workshops, observation and mapping, not to forget playing and talking with the children. Next there is a enjoyable presentation of some beautiful photos from our fieldwork. But stay tuned, more detailed stories coming ahead!

On our way to Purongo Hill. The mini van was comfy enough to fit all of us in. On the picture Stuart, Siima, Allan and Catherine with our PM Antti. Photo by Elli

Antti introducing our team to the whole school at the morning assembly!

Antti introducing our team to the whole school at the morning assembly! Photo by Elli

Girls favorite pastime was definetly skipping rope. Photo by Soila

Boys latrines at the school. Photo by Soila

Thimothy, 9 years, was playing a traditional instrument “thumb piano” during lunch brake. Photo by Soila

Some hand washing facilities waiting to be filled. On the background there is the huge mango tree that gave the best shadow around the school yard. Photo by Soila

Nicolás checking out the borehole with the boys. Photo by Elli

Look at those smiles! Photo by Antti


Stuart and Juho making observations of the hand washing tank. Photo by Elli

Pamela Pamela ee-ee Pamela!

Pamela Pamela ee-ee Pamela! Photo by Soila



In the last post we mentioned about Human Rights Based Approach. If I guess right that might raise a question mark in your mind – it did for me, a month ago at least!

So, what does it mean? Basically, it is about keeping human rights in mind with every step you make during your process. Sounds simple, but it’s not so self-evident in development processes. As an old saying tells, while you bow in one direction you point your butt to another; you can’t please everyone.

One main principle of HRBA is to “do no harm”. Whatever you are doing, make sure that even the most vulnerable ones don’t suffer from the outcome. The core of the approach is still much more than that – it is about empowering people. In one’s work it means allowing people to know and claim their rights. And on the other hand, allowing people who are responsible of fulfillment of these rights to do so as well. In practice, it is giving fair opportunities to have an impact on matters that influence their lives.

How this shows in our development project then? The tools for HRBA can be taken from the field of design, which has been developed towards more user-centered and participatory ways. Terms such as human centered design, co-design and co-creation are design approaches aiming for better outcome of a design in terms of usability and suitability. Methods for reaching this is to take the user along, get into their shoes and experience, understand and empathize their life yourself. Tools can be for example workshops, interviews, site visits, trials, observations and just listening. All of which we did during the three weeks in Uganda.


Participatory workshop with school children. 15 years old students Dorrin and Sharon are explaining their design for Elli and other team. Photo by Irena

Children with drawings

Harriet, 7 years old and Joram, 7 years old are showing their best drawings as a result of our workshop. Photo by Elli

Antti and Nicolas filling the handwashing facilities

Antti and Nicolas filling the handwashing facilitiesAntti and Nicolas are trying out the children’s chores and filling the handwashing facilities. Photo by Yuki