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PROJECT adopted

PROJECT OUTLINE: (Malawi) Nutrition - Hidden Hunger

by
Wade Tink
Wade Tink | 8 months ago | in Hidden Hunger

SOCIAL OPPORTUNITY
More than 26% of preschool children in Kenya, 37 % in Nigeria and 33 % in South Africa are stunted, in other words short for their age. This condition represents a chronic form of undernourishment in early life and leads to irrecoverable physical and mental development.
(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/howard-schiffer/...b_8215624.html)

This project originated from a team spanning 4 countries and comprising 16 researchers as part of the Australian Africa Universities Network (AAUN). One of the studies that inspired the project was a study of what households in four of South Africa’s poorest rural communities eat in summer and winter. It found that when households grew their own crops to eat, their dietary diversity improved. This research originated from University of Pretoria. 

A digital solution has been utilised successfully to address similar issues in India centred around a smart computing framework. Combining insights from this on the ground experience and the research the team designed a mobile based information system for Africa to inform about crops that can be grown locally to address nutritional deficiencies in their diet and information about how to grow these crops.

The researchers are creating a database of crops that can be grown in different parts of Africa and the types of nutrition these crops can provide . Using Food and Agriculture organisation guidelines they have devised a way to identify missing nutrients in people’s diet. This enable the product to recommend locally grown cereal, fruits, and vegetables that they can eat, information about how to grow these crops and related nutritional aspects.

Users can sign in to the mobile app and identify where they live using the map. Next they can provide some information about their house hold and take the Food Survey. In the food survey the user is shown images of commonly consumed food organised into 16 food categories and then selects types of food that they have consumed in the last 24 hours. At the end a summary is provided based on nutritional aspects.
Next they can explore available locally grown crops and vegetables that can address nutritional deficiencies identified in their diet. They also can obtain information about how to grow these crops.

Household diet menu provides a summary of the users diet in the last 24 hours, over 3 days and 5 days. Such population statistics collected over a period of time will enable decision and policy makers to better allocate resources and create policies in a coordinated way to encourage local communities to grow their own food to eliminate hidden hunger from Africa.

PROPOSED NEXT STEPS
As can be seen in this video ICT students at WSU have contributed to creating the digital product, the next step is to engage students to complete the 'on the ground work' to make this product into a commercial reality. 
Refer to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ARzB6AHhDs&t=36s

To validate the product and create a business model to support it is the focus of this project. To achieve the social outcome it would need to be proven that the app promotes behaviour change in users. At the moment the solution does not take in to consideration any cultural aspects of the proposed beneficiaries. It is also designed and built as a smart phone application in a region where smart phone penetration is relatively low. 
Following PEV methodologies the first step would be to engage with the proposed beneficiaries (customer segment) and understand how they define 'hidden hunger' in their lives (Problem) before moving to crafting the value proposition and solution which in this case is created. 
Equally important is to build a business model to sustain the ongoing provision of the socially beneficial product. 

It is proposed that this project would be conducted as soon as possible in close collaboration with researchers at WSU and in Africa. The greatest physical reach of the identified goals would be a priority ie. getting the solution into as many communities hands as possible.

edited on 8th September 2018, 05:09 by Wade Tink

Wade Tink 8 months ago

Attached is the proposal in pdf form.

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Wade Tink 8 months ago

Attached is a case study infographic for India.

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Wade Tink 8 months ago

Status label added: Proposed PROJECT

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William Lee 7 months ago

Sounds interesting, Tink. My questions are:
1) Do you see the revenue stream as being user paid?
2) To what extent will we be involved in ICT/tech development side of things - while our expertise doesn't lie here, I imagine we will be closely involved in the design and UX side of things
3) How prepared are they to create a simplified version of this for brick phones, especially given this is the predominant type of mobile phones in Malawi? If not, would you suggest starting this project in a country that is not Malawi (e.g. India or other sub-Saharan countries)?
4) To what extent will we be involved in the data analytics/agri knowledge side of things - again, while this is not our area of expertise, I imagine it will be important to provide timely feedback to whatever party is responsible so we can make changes to the system on the run.

I think beyond the actually product market fit and revenue generation side of things, the biggest challenge will be in stakeholder management and figuring our who owns which stream of work.

Let me know your thoughts.

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Wade Tink 7 months ago

1)
To be honest I have no idea of proposed revenue streams. My approach would be to follow the process and validate the strength of the value proposition which will determine potential revenue streams.
Having a look at the model that has effectively worked in India the revenue was derived through efficiencies in cost saving to suppliers which was passed on to the providers of the digital service.

2)
Exactly. The ICT department of WSU has built a working prototype and seeks to provide all ICT/tech development with the allocated resources they have at hand enabled through AAUN funding.

3)
Given the expertise of the ICT department this is achievable. It's execution will be based on project results from in country.

4)
The great thing about this opportunity is that it is a collaboration across several universities in Africa in addition to WSU. WSU holds the ICT responsibility of the project whereas the nutrition and agricultural input is coming from the African Universities.
Data is collected at the back end of the system, it's processing will be joint.

Co-ordination is an important consideration. In seeking to commercialise the product that would be the focus of our co-ordination efforts and therefore drawing from the expertise to achieve that end.

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Ella Grier 7 months ago

Interesting. Similarly to the countries in the above articles, this is a very visible issue in Malawi. As you have said I believe the key point here is whether an app or facility such as this will promote a behavioural change (either the adoption of nutritional advice provided into their diet or implementation of new crop variety based on nutritional advice).
For the latter, an important consideration is that subsistence farmers focus heavily on crops that are well-known regionally and reliable, in order to have enough income to provide for a their family and have the necessary inputs to continue farming. This cycle of dependence on these often nutritionally deficient crops (e.g. Maize) has heavily influenced the agriculture sector of Malawi and agriculture practises have been hard to affect. I believe that moreso than potential nutritional benefits, this change would be invoked by the financial viability and reliability of the proposed crop diversification. I assume that this would be different geographically on both a small and large scale, but would be something that needs to be taken into account in the nutritional suggestions made by the proposed tech.

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Wade Tink 7 months ago

Understood. I also think this is a communication/value proposition type issue. It is our responsibility as part of forming the business model and validating our assumptions to effectively communicate the benefits of crop diversification, nutritional outcomes and food security.
Is this easy? HELL NO!! But starting any business is ridiculously difficult and this is no different. With passionate and competent people like yourself involved in execution and the ability to harness digital outcomes I believe it can succeed.

Users tagged:

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Fiona Aaron 7 months ago

I think it's a balance of selling the benefits in a way that they will understand/care about. They might not care about nutritional benefits (because it's a long term issue), but greatly care about additional income from the crop diversity/health of the crops. So the sell could be made from that angle primarily and then as people notice the health benefits, that will spread via. word of mouth across villages.

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Fiona Aaron 7 months ago

I think it's a balance of selling the benefits in a way that they will understand/care about. They might not care about nutritional benefits (because it's a long term issue), but greatly care about additional income from the crop diversity/health of the crops. So the sell could be made from that angle primarily and then as people notice the health benefits, that will spread via. word of mouth across villages.

Reply 0

View all replies (3)

Andrew Vild 7 months ago

Status label added: PROJECT adopted

Status label removed: Proposed PROJECT

As a result of meeting with WSU and a collaborative decision from Malawi operations, Ella, the Hidden Hunger Project has been approved to go ahead in Malawi only for December, January, February.

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Caz Whitehead 5 months ago

It's definitely an area which requires someAttention. That ,huff ,post article link is broken, but there are a few studies I quickly found which back up the idea. is

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Caz Whitehead 5 months ago

Apologies for the bad writing. The mobile version of this site is awful, so my keyboard was hiding the text box and I couldn't see what I was typing. Oops.

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