CINQ 396 Blog 11

 

  1. Develop a M&E plan for your project.

 

Below is a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework layout for Ukweli Test Strips.

Indicator Definition Baseline Target Data Source Frequency Responsible Reporting
Goal Reduction in the maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone. The number of maternal deaths reported by the government of Sierra Leone at some point in time during our venture subtracted by the maternal mortality rate . 1,360 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. A number hopefully much lower than 1,360 in the long run Utilize medical data from hospitals/other PHUs and records from Sierra Leone’s Government. Every other year might be a good frequency but more frequent may work. World Hope International, our partner on the ground will most likely be measuring and collecting the proper data for this goal. This statistic will be reported to the Sierra Leone government and other global health programs most likely.
Outcomes Number of women who are screened and screen positive for UTIs and/or Preeclampsia. Records kept by community health workers and other clinics regarding how many women were screened and their outcomes compared to the number of screenings prior to this venture (If that information is available). A current value of amount of women screened for UTIs / Preeclampsia is not available. The target would be to get as many women at risk for UTI / Preeclampsia in the operating regions screened. Utilize records made up by Ukweli of how many women are screened. This data could be collected pretty frequently, probably multiple times a year. This data would be kept by the health workers administering the tests to pregnant women. This outcome would be reported to World Hope International, as well as the Ukweli team in the United States. Might be beneficial to be reported to the government.
Output The mindset of seeking help and being open to communicate  when experiencing symptoms, rather than doing nothing (current problem) Track how many times women got screened or were referred somewhere else to get screened. Shows initiative to actually do something. No data available for this. A noticeable increase in women who come to doctors to get screened / talk about their health in regards to UTI / Pree Utilize records made up by Ukweli of how many women are screened. This could be monitored pretty frequently to get an idea of the change in attitude The health workers who are administering the strips/talking to patients about their symptoms/referring This output would be reported to World Hope, the Ukweli Team, and possibly different government organizations.

Some of the assumptions used to create this framework included:

  • Messaging, communication, and advertising measures are effective and reach enough of the intended audience. If this assumption is carried out, then the goal, output, and outcome will be reached.
  • The tests will be accurate in its screening. If they are not accurate, then women who have UTIs/Preeclampsia may not screen positive, which is detrimental to helping women with these problems. If these women are not helped, the maternal mortality would not be lowered as much as it could, and not as many women would seek out this screening.
  • The strip is priced appropriately. If the strip is too expensive in the eyes of the women, then the goal and outcome cannot be reached

The logic model that would be in place would look something like this:

 

Inputs Activities Outputs Outcomes Goal Alignment
-Funding

-Partnerships with OEMs, World Hope International

-Team of college students/professors

-Delivery of test strips to health clinics/workers in Sierra Leone

-Training of health workers on UTIs/Preeclampsia, how to use the strips, how to advertise it to women

-Number of women screened

-Number of women that screen positive

-Number of women referred to other health clinics to get

-Better health for mother and baby

-lowering of the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate

-If all falls into place the way Ukweli is intending it to, then the outcomes of the operations would align very well with the goal.

 

 

2) Estimate the Social Return on Investment for your project.

 

For this social return on investment, to see how much money is generated per $1 spent, I am deciding to look at it in terms of $1 spent solely on test strips due to the fact that the strip costs are most traceable and factoring the overhead spent and other costs associated would make this very complicated. Therefore, assuming we produce each test strip for two cents (the current rate), we would multiply the social return for one strip by 50 in order to get it in terms of $1 spent. We would also have to assume the price that a health worker buys a 100 strip box for from World Hope and how much they sell each strip for in order to figure out the profit per strip they would make. We would also have to assume how much a women in Sierra Leone would have to pay for a strip that is currently on the market in order to see how much money they would save purchasing an Ukweli test strip. Assuming a health worker purchases a 100 strip box for $5 ($0.05 per strip) and sells each strip for 2,000 Sierra Leonean Leones ($0.23), they would be making a profit of $0.18 per strip, or $9 if they sold $1 worth of strips (50 strips). According to our crowdfunding video, a single UTI screening test at a clinic costs roughly $2, so assuming that is the actual price, women will save $1.77 buying an Ukweli Test Strip for $0.23 from a community health worker. Therefore, when only considering the money associated with buying and selling test strips, for one test strip Ukweli generates $1.95 of social impact between the health worker administering the strip and the women getting tested. This equates to $97.50 generated for $1 spent solely on test strips. However, since this only focused on the cost to produce strips and not the money spent on overhead, etc, the number calculated for generated money may be higher than it actually is.

 

CINQ 396 Blog #10

 

1) Funding sources for dissemination

 

 

Since Ukweli is a few years into the venture, our project is out of the design phase for the most part, and we are more focused towards developing our project currently in the dissemination phase of the project.

1: Crowdfunding: Ukweli Test Strips have been in discussion about pursuing funding for our project through crowdfunding efforts, and have taken the initial steps in order to pursue crowdfunding. The crowdfunding could be conducted through either of the two main crowdfunding sites available, which would be Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Although receiving a large amount of money through a health related venture such as Ukweli might be a little tough through crowdfunding, it definitely is not out of the realm of possibility to acquire. As of now,  Ukweli has laid out a plan for a crowdfunding video, which will include both an animation that depicts the life of a pregnant mother in Sierra Leone who is living with the threat of contracting a UTI or having preeclampsia, and also outlines what our project is, what our team is doing right now, and what the goals of the project are. We have filmed our team members doing the speaking parts of the video, so once the animations and editing have been squared away we will be ready to launch our campaign to the public.

Our partner in Sierra Leone, World Hope International, has agreed to match funding we receive from outside sources up to $6,000, making them a source of funding for us as well. This agreement makes World Hope International a source of funding for Ukweli Test Strips as well, but this source of funding is dependent on us receiving an adequate amount of funding from other sources. This is why we are hoping to acquire a minimum of $6,000 from crowdfunding, in order to receive the full money that World Hope has offered to pay.

2: Saving Lives at Birth: The Saving Lives at Birth grant is a funding source supported by Grand Challenges Canada, USAID, NORAD, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, and KOICA. This grant calls looks to fund prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor and hard to reach communities, which is exactly what the Ukweli Test Strips venture is focused on. As a project that has been in the works for multiple years at this point, Ukweli Test Strips is looking to transition to scale in the near future, which is the type of venture and innovation that Saving Lives at Birth is looking to support. Saving Lives at Birth looks for projects that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable, which is something Ukweli has built their model around, and Saving Lives at Birth also focus on three different areas: science and technology, service delivery, and demand creation. While the physical product Ukweli offers is not a scientific breakthrough, our venture is made special due to the approach it takes on solving the last mile approach of getting the strips to the hard to reach and underserved communities in Sierra Leone, so this venture falls into the service delivery aspect that Saving Lives at Birth focuses on.

 

2) Income statement and assumptions

Pictured here is the Income statement that has been constructed for Ukweli for the first three years after it has officially launched as a venture in Sierra Leone. As you can see, we are expecting large increases in sales each year for the first three years, but all of the costs associated with the venture increase as well, leading to the losses in total income increasing. Although these losses may be concerning, it is not unusual for this to happen to non-profit and social ventures when assessing income just based off of sales.

One of the assumptions that was made in the creation of the income statement for the sales account is that the messaging and advertising for the venture is effective, and awareness of Ukweli and it’s services increases and spreads to other parts of Sierra Leone outside of the Bombali District that the venture is currently focusing on. With awareness of the venture growing, more women will know the importance of getting screened for UTIs and Preeclampsia, which will therefore mean more boxes of strips will be sold, which obviously would create more revenue for our venture. The assumption that the current mindset of doing nothing regarding UTI and Preeclampsia signs and symptoms will change during the time can also tie into the idea of sales increasing. Even if the workers on the ground follow protocol in advertising the strips, if people don’t change their attitude about not doing anything if they experience symptoms that could be related to UTIs and Preeclampsia, then the strips would not sell as well as we would hope.

Some other assumptions we have made that relate to the cost of goods sold account is that the rate we are getting for the test strips will continue to be roughly the same. This would most likely be the case if we continue to work with our current Original Equipment Manufacturer, WangCheng, so that is something we factored in.

We also assume that the overhead for the venture will continue to be high. From what Ukweli has observed, the overhead is very high for the venture, and we did not anticipate for those rates to decrease when the income statement was created.

 

CINQ 396 Post 4/22/19

Develop a detailed business model canvas for one of the following social enterprises: One Acre Fund, Acumen Fund, or Envirofit International. Integrate insights from at least five different valid sources for your chosen social enterprise and provide those citations in your blog.

 

Business Model Canvas for: One Acre Fund

 

Value Proposition

One value proposition of One Acre Fund could be, “Financing and training farmers in East Africa in order to eradicate hunger and poverty”. A value proposition that focuses more on the micro aspects of the One Acre Fund could be, “Ensuring healthy, well-fed families throughout East Africa through funding and educating smallholder farmers”.

 

Key Activities

One of the main activities that One Acre takes part in loaning assets to the farmers in East Africa. One Acre provides seeds and fertilizer to the farmers on credit, and offers them flexible repayment options so the farmers are not faced with heavy financial burden through the process. One Acre Fund also makes distribution of the assets a key activity for their organization, as they deliver the resources to locations that are within walking distance and close for all the farmers receiving them.

One Acre Fund also carries out training for farmers. During this activity, One Acre gives training to farmers on how to best manage their crops throughout the season and provide them with modern agriculture techniques so they can get the best production possible out of their crops. In addition to the training on how to best produce crops, One Acre Fund also offers education on crop storage solutions and market fluctuations, so the farmers understand how to best maximize profit for themselves. (Our Model)

 

Key Resources

One of the main resources One Acre Fund has is the supplies such as seeds and fertilizer that is given to the farmers to help their crop production. Without these resources, the organization would most likely be unable to take the first steps in creating a more effective and sustainable farming.

One Acre Fund also has the resource of agriculture expertise. This resource is important to the organization, as it is what is bestowed upon the farmers that allows them to maximize their farming productivity and in turn gives them a chance at earning a higher income.

 

Key Partners

One of the larger partnerships for One Acre Fund is their association with USAID. This partnership between the two parties began in 2012 and is funded through the Development Grants Program and the Global Development Alliance, and most recently, this partnership has seen two grants awarded for a total of $6.4 million dollars. (USAID)

One Acre Fund also has a strong partnership with the Pershing Square Foundation. PSF made a $500,000 investment to One Acre during its early stages in 2008 and has since supplied One Acre with over $10 million in additional funding to help the organization run its operations more effectively. (One Acre Fund)

However, the largest partnerships for One Acre Fund is the partnerships that the company takes up with the local farmers in East Africa. These partnerships see One Acre Fund supply the farmers with resources and training, and the farmers take on repayment plans so One Acre recovers what they provided for the most part.

 

Customer Relations

One Acre Farms creates a solid system of customer relations, as it provides these farmers in East Africa with the assets they require (seeds, fertilizer, tools) in order for them to have the means to grow good crops. In addition to the materials, One Acre ensures that farmers will be able to maximize their crop growth and profit and be self sustaining by providing them with the training and education needed in order for the farmers to fully understand how to harvest these crops and sell them in the markets. This method of supplying the farmers with what they need, but also educating them so that down the road they can effectively produce crops on their own would appear to create better relations than if the organization just supplied the resources to the farmers without actually teaching them how to utilize them in the most effective way.

Channels

One Acre Fund creates a channel of farming supply delivery to farmers that is both accessible and better financially for farmers. By delivering the supplies to locations close to farmers and providing them on a loan that allows the farmers to provide the repayment however they want over a certain amount of time, this channel makes it easy for farmers to grow their production. One Acre Fund also provides an education channel to the farmers that allows them to learn how to best manage their crops and make the most income and return on what they’re growing.

 

Customer Segments

One Acre Fund is mainly focused on bettering the lives of smallholder farmers, specifically located in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Malawi. These smallholder farmers that One Acre is targeting lack the money and ability to access basic assets such as seeds and fertilizer, and do not have the proper training and knowledge to maximize their crop production, which is why One Acre Fund comes in and provides these farmers with both funding and training to expand their operations. (One Acre Fund)

 

Cost Structure

One cost that One Acre Fund takes on is for the traveling they do, both for the delivery of fertilizer, seeds, and other assets, as well as the traveling that is done to provide education and training to the farmers, who are often located in remote areas. One Acre Fund also takes on costs just to purchase all of the resources that are then given to the farmers. Although the fertilizer, seeds, and other farming assets are paid back by the farmers in the end, those are still initial investments that One Acre Fund has to make.

 

Revenue Streams

Farmer loan repayment from farming resource lending is the largest revenue stream, as it repays roughly 75% of One Acre Fund’s field expenses. The rest of the field expenses are financed through donor money. In the future, One Acre Fund looks to increase in operations so that the repayments provide enough revenue to fully fund the field expenses that the organization takes on. (How We Grow)

 

Citations:

“How We Grow.” One Acre Fund, oneacrefund.org/what-we-do/how-we-grow/.

“One Acre Fund.” Pershing Square Foundation, pershingsquarefoundation.org/case-study/one-acre-fund/.

“One Acre Fund.” The Life You Can Save, www.thelifeyoucansave.org/where-to-donate/one-acre-fund.

“Our Model.” One Acre Fund, oneacrefund.org/what-we-do/our-model/.

“USAID.” One Acre Fund, oneacrefund.org/about-us/press-and-awards/usaid/.

 

CINQ 396 Blog 4/5

List five take-aways from Guy Kawasaki’s talk and explain exactly how you will integrate that concept/construct/strategy into your project. Make it compelling. Don’t write generic forgettable text.

1: An important topic that Guy Kawasaki touched on during his talk was the importance of creating a MAT, or an outline of your ventures Milestones, Assumptions, and Tasks. Creating milestones creates a focus for your team to strive for, and motivates the team to continue to push forward in their research/mission, while the tasks clearly lay out what needs to be done by the team in order to reach those milestones. The assumptions that are made are also important in reaching those milestones, as they could dictate how the team can operate in certain facets of their venture or react in certain situations. Ukweli has laid out our major milestone of getting our venture to launch, and has laid out the tasks needed to be done by each member of the team, but we have some assumptions about how the structure and work in Sierra Leone operates, and that is something that has to be confirmed or adjusted.

2: Kawasaki also highlighted the importance of hiring people who are “infected” with a dedication for your cause and company, as it progresses your venture forward. Although Ukweli Test Strips has Hassan carrying out various operations for us, we have talked about looking to bring another person in Sierra Leone onto the team to assist Hassan. This is where the idea of hiring an infected person can come into play, as we should be looking for someone who would love working for our project and working to carry out our milestones.

3: Kawasaki’s idea of not asking people to do something you wouldn’t do also stood out to me. I interpreted this just as respectfully treating people who are helping your venture, and I believe this is one of the more important things we could do in Sierra Leone. I believe that in country we make sure that the workers feel like they are being treated in a fair and respectful manner, and they feel like we are not asking too much of them in order to progress our venture. This would give our company a good reputation and also potentially make our operations more effective.

4: Kawasaki also highlighted the importance of flattening the learning curve. In terms of our project I think we could apply this concept to the training and educating of the workers in Sierra Leone who are administering the strips. With work currently being done on the marketing and training pamphlets for the PHU workers in Sierra Leone, it is important to make it as easy as possible for the workers to understand and retain the information that is needed to make their jobs related to our venture effective. If it is difficult for the workers to understand the workings of the strip and the overall operations of Ukweli they could perform their tasks incorrectly, or not effectively convince people to get screened.

5: I also believe it is important to keep in mind Kawasaki’s idea of niching oneself. Although the test strips offered by Ukweli are already distinguished from and offer more value to women than the competitor strips, we should not become satisfied with what we already have. Adding preeclampsia to the strips does bring additional value to the end users, but I feel like we should still look for ways to increase value to pregnant women in the future.

 

Present a business model canvas for your venture.

1: Value Proposition

Ukweli offers a specific, affordable, and accessible three parameter test strip that screens women for UTIs and preeclampsia.

2: Customers of Ukweli

The direct customers of Ukweli include the various peripheral health units and pharmacies that are buying the strips from our team, then distributing them to the end users of the test strips, which would be the pregnant women and women in general of Sierra Leone who would be at risk of contracting a UTI or who could have preeclampsia.

3: Channels for Distribution

At the moment Hassan is the main channel for distribution to get the test strips from the World Hope Makeni office to the PHUs in the area. Although having a man on a bike deliver the strips seems unreasonable, it is the most effective method in that context and situation.

4:Customer Relationship

A lot of the customer relation with the PHUs falls upon Hassan to carry out. Since Hassan is the one doing the selling to the PHUs, as well as the one carrying out the training for many of the CHWs, he is the one that is carrying out the most regular communication with people on the ground on behalf of Ukweli.

5: Revenue Streams

Our revenue stream is based solely upon selling our test strips to the PHUs, who would then sell the strips to women to create a source of revenue for themselves.

6: Resources

Lehigh University serves as our major resource, as it contains many of the resources inside of it that we use to test the accuracy of the test strips and other factors. Another resource to consider is the already established relationships in Sierra Leone. This resource cuts out the often difficult task of establishing ties in a new country.

7: Partners and Suppliers

Our main partner is World Hope, who has employees working to expand Ukweli’s venture in Sierra Leone. Our OEM supplier is Wangchen, based in Jilin, China.

8: Activities

The main activity of Ukweli’s operations is to distribute test strips to the PHUs that will screen women for UTIs and Preeclampsia. Another operation of Ukweli is facilitating the training of workers who administer test strips, as well as organizing the manufacturing of the test strips.

9: Costs

Ukweli takes on high overhead costs associated with running the venture, which is one of the main reasons our team requires more funding. We also have labor costs for Hassan that we need to account for.

CINQ 396 Post 3/29

  1. List ten non-obvious assumptions about your target customers (or organizations) that you need to validate.

With our project moving into the launch phase, a lot of the questions that were had about our project and its stakeholders have been answered for the most part. However, there are a few assumptions that will have to be looked into further to get a better understanding of our customers and end users.

  1. Our end users are more willing to talk to to health workers. Although we know that this is usually the case, we should figure out just how many women still feel okay with talking to/going to male workers on the topic of UTIs since that could influence our marketing strategies.
  2. The women in rural areas are not as likely to be able to read as women in more urban areas. Although that is usually the case, getting a better idea on the literacy breakdown between rural and urban areas can give us a better idea on how we could go about advertising and informing them of our strip and health information.
  3. Pharmacies do not get as many women coming to them about UTIs. We believe this is the case due to the gender makeup of pharmacy workers being mostly male, but doing more research on this could confirm this and give us a better idea on the marketing approach they should take for our strips.
  4. The hospitals may be able to use more text based advertising since they are often located in more urban areas. This ties in a little bit with the assumption of literacy rates being higher in urban areas, but if we find that the literacy of the patients coming to the hospitals are not higher than other PHUs then that changes how they should market the strips to the end users.
  5. The community health workers do not have enough training to complete a preeclampsia blood pressure test after initial screening. My team was talking about implementing a blood pressure test after a patient screens positive for preeclampsia, but said community health workers probably should not handle that. We should see if they are capable of carrying out those tests, as it would make the process easier.
  6. Some of the PHUs will look to use these strips as a way to make extra profit. This is something that we would not want to validate, as it would mean PHUs are unethically selling them. This is where the training to educate on when and how to use them is important

 

  1. List ten hypotheses about your project that you need to test during fieldwork.

With our venture past the early starting stages and moving into an actual launch of a venture, most hypotheses that could have been had about our project have already been answered. However, there are still some hypotheses for our venture that can still be further tested.

  1. Having advertising for the strips at mother support groups will increase the number of people who get screened.
  2. Word of mouth advertising will be much more effective than any other form of advertising.
  3. If we include screening for preeclampsia on our strips, it will still be easy to read and the accuracy of the results will not diminish.
  4. The introduction of the quality control stickers on our bottle will ensure that no defective stickers will be used.
  5. The radio program will heavily increase the number of people that end up getting screened.
  6. If we add another member to the Ukweli team on the ground to accompany Hassan more people will get screened.
  7. Posters are the best type of visual marketing to get women to get screened. Although posters are very effective, it might still be a good idea to confirm that there is not another form of visual that would work better.
  8. The marketing strategies will have to change during different seasons. Although we are pretty sure this will be the case, we should look into this further to determine if/how much the marketing strategies would change.
  9. We would neet to create training sessions for PHUs on marketing the strips. We could test this and see how well the PHUs are currently putting information about screening and UTIs and then determine how much training is needed based off this.

 

  1. What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific.

I think the obvious skillsets I bring to my team include marketing skills and graphic design skills, which are what my main tasks for the semester are based around. My marketing abilities will help the team create packets that will eventually be distributed out to the different stakeholders of Ukweli Test Strips (CHWs, Hopitals, other PHUs, etc.) that will outline how they should go about advertising and informing the target end user about both the product that is being offered as well as UTIs and Preeclampsia. This would generate a higher number of women who ask for the screening as well as increase the number of people educated about these health issues, and these two outcomes kind of go hand in hand. My graphic design ability has already started to help the team, as I designed new packaging for the test strips that has been sent to the manufacturers for production.

A less obvious thing that I feel like I can bring to my team is the ability to stay calm and collected in stressful situations. Throughout my life, during sports and various everyday activities, people have commented to me about how I always appear very calm even when things are not going right, so I feel like that quality is something I could instill in the rest of my team members. During the course of this project, both during this semester at Lehigh and on the ground in Sierra Leone, unforeseen circumstances will arise in our project that will cause issues for the team. In situations like that, I feel like my ability to remain calm could be taken up by the rest of the team, which would result in us overcoming the problem in a timely and effective manner.

I believe a strength of mine that has improved over the course of this project and class is my diligence. Although I was a fairly hard worker prior to coming on to this project, I feel like knowing I am working towards a larger goal than just a grade for the class has made me more motivated to do good work. I feel like I proved this to myself when I had to put multiple hours in a single night into designing new packaging for the test strips, then learning a new system of graphic design on Mac when the format of my design wasn’t right for the manufacturers.

A weakness that I have discovered is that I could be a better captain at times. Although I do not think this has been an issue up until this point, I have realized that there have been times when I could have taken charge on something our team was talking about during our weekly meetings, but left the talking up to someone with more experience on the team, so that is something I have to work on.

 

Identify ten specific things you will do to strengthen your next presentation (and responses).

After reflecting on the presentation given by Ukweli Test Strips and after reviewing the feedback we had received, some ways I believe we could improve our next presentation and question and answer segment are as follows.

During the Presentation:

  1. One of the judges said that they see a potential challenge in us getting people to care a lot about UTIs due to all the other problems Sierra Leone has. Because of this I feel like we should emphasize the impact UTIs have on both the micro/individual level and macro level in Sierra Leone to prove to the judges that this is someone that people should focus on.
  2. Be more clear about who we are working with and who our partners are. We touched on it briefly in our first presentation, but looking at the comments from judges it seems like they missed that point, which could impact our credibility
  3. Clarify where the extra funding we are pushing for will go. We mentioned that we were looking for at least $10,000, but when it came to question and answer time some people were curious regarding how it would be distributed, so clarifying that during the presentation could help us.
  4. Discuss more in depth facts about the strip (Accuracy, shelf life, how often they become defected, etc.). Our project would gain a lot more credibility if we prove the strips are a product that actually works.
  5. Provide details regarding training of the people administering the test strips. Showing that we have a plan for the workers to effectively continue the project while the team is not in Sierra Leone is important.
  6. Mentioning the costs we take on and revenues more in depth would be beneficial in my opinion. Although no one really asked about it during the first presentation, showing a break down of everything could show that our project is developed and would be sustainable and successful.

During the Question and Answer Time:

  1. Have everyone participate in answering questions. It will make the team as a whole look stronger in the eyes of the judges.
  2. Utilize back up slides when answering questions. Our team had them in our presentation but did not show them when they would have been applicable.
  3. Avoid giving vague answers. Using numbers and specific names/actions would boost the credibility of our work.
  4. Do not carry on during answers. It is much more effective to say only what is most important in order to answer the question and not add fluff to it.

 

Does your work require IRB approval? If yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy.

Since our work does involve studying pregnant women in Sierra Leone and most likely the workers under the direction of the Ministry of Health as well, our project would require approval from the IRB. Since our project does deal with pregnant women, we are working with a vulnerable population under the IRB guidelines. This means that we would have to go through extra steps to indicate that we would be working with this group in order for our project to be approved to move forward.

Another aspect of our project that should be considered when working towards IRB approval is language. Although English is spoken fairly frequently throughout Sierra Leone, Krio, Mende and Temne are also popular, meaning some of our research would possibly require working with those languages. Since we do have the potential to be working with non-English speaking populations, this is something that would have to be outlined in our IRB approval request along with the work being done with vulnerable populations.

 

Develop a Logic Model for your venture.

CINQ 396 Blog due 3_8-22maoga

CINQ 396 Post 2/22

Based on your life experience, skills, and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?

I am a very creative person, and in my free time I like to do graphic design and make art. Therefore, my design process would be creative and artistic to reflect those characteristics. My design process would be much more focused on the look and aesthetic of the final product rather than the technology behind it, since that is not a strong point of mine. My design process would produce a product that would be visually pleasing, whether that be using a minimalist style or something that pops. As someone who also is marketing minded, part of my design process would also look at the packaging that the final product would be placed in. The packaging would have a similar approach to the product, which is an approach that uses creativity and an artistic take to create a visually pleasing final object. With a creative and good looking design, the outcome of the design process would be effective because it would catch the attention of someone, making it more likely that they would use the product.

 

How will you validate your project concept, technology, usability, operational/business model?

Since the Ukweli test strip project has been worked on for a few years, the validity of the test strip in terms of its technology is pretty solid. Research has been done on how the strip should be manufactured, and last year months of research and testing was put into the strip to make sure that the technology in the product was working in the way it was intended to work.

Although the technology in the strips that helps detect UTIs works well, more work needs to be done in terms of the strips usability. The test strips are sensitive to light, temperature, and humidity, and can become defective and provide false readings as a result of those factors. Therefore, use of faulty strips can negatively impact the validity of the project and product. Currently Ukweli is looking into the use of stickers that would be placed on the packaging of the test strips that would identify if the group of strips has been exposed to too much sun, heat, or humidity, meaning they are defective and unable to use. This would improve the validity of the products, as it would ensure that only properly working strips would be used.

In terms of operational and business models on the ground in Sierra Leone, Ukweli has been working to increase their validity and is on the right path in doing so. Working with World Hope in Makeni gives Ukweli a partner that is highly trusted and respected by the citizens of Sierra Leone, which helps the validity of the project tremendously. One thing our team is working on that would improve business and operations validity is acquiring a marketing license. This form that outlines the product, manufacturing, distributing, and all other aspects of the project would give people a better understanding of our business operations and would also allow us to distribute the test strips throughout Sierra Leone.

 

Articulate your philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets in Sierra Leone.

Engagement between the communities, partners, and markets involved with the Ukweli Test Strip project is crucial to ensuring the best outcomes the project can achieve. In terms of engaging with the community, we have to interact with them to make sure that we are operating our project in a way that they are satisfied with and actually gets them involved in our project. If they do not think that we are credible or if they do not approve of how our project is operating then they won’t buy into what we are trying to accomplish. In addition, if we are not implementing tactics that get the communities interested in what we are trying to achieve, then we will not attract enough people from the communities that are needed for our project to create widespread positive change.

It is also of high importance to have constant engagement with our partners, especially World Hope, while on the ground in Sierra Leone. Since World Hope is our main partner on the ground and has employees working on our project, we need to constantly be interacting with them about progress in the project as well as developments that they should be aware of in order to continue effective operations on their end. Without this engagement, a disconnect could develop in terms of what they are doing on the ground and what we are expecting of them.

Finally, engagement with the market and distributors of the test strips is needed in order for our operations to be effective. We are going to have our product within the healthcare system of Sierra Leone, which is a very complex structure that has a lot of intricacies. Therefore, our communication with the market is essential for us to understand the system better, which would help us understand how to operate our project on that front.

 

Zach Day CINQ 396 Blog 2/15

1: Give three examples of how you can use nature as a model/mentor/measure for your own designs (and life).

One of the main messages that I took away from the video on the termite nests is that you are still able to create something strong and durable while also making it very simplistic. In the video, they showed how the termites were capable of creating these huge structures that were very tough and strong, but were hollow on the inside and required very little materials. I think it just proves the point that you do not have to follow the idea that adding more makes something better, which is a mindset I feel many people believe in.

Another lesson I feel like myself and other people could learn from nature came from the Biomimicry Ted Talk when Janine Benyu mentioned that organisms have figured out a way to do the things they do while taking care of the environment. Although I feel like many companies and individuals are moving in the right direction in terms of preserving the environment, I feel like further observing how ecosystems and nature keeps their environment clean could benefit humans and allow them to create new ways to be eco friendly.

I felt like the termite video could also teach a lesson about being resourceful, as it highlighted how the insects made use out of basically everything around them, and were able to use every resource as much as they possibly could. People in general tend to be very wasteful, both in daily life and in business and production, so I feel like analyzing animals and how they operate with very little waste could teach humans to do the same.

 

2: Pick one of Life’s Principles. Explain how you might apply it to your work and life (Could be unrelated to GSIF Projects).

When reading the paper on Life’s Principles, the idea of “Optimizing rather than Maximizing” stood out to me and seemed like an important concept for many facets of life. Although the idea of being multifunctional appeared as the most important aspect of this principle in my mind, I see the idea of optimizing rather than maximizing as a whole being a good principle that can help make life, work, and my teams GSIF project more efficient and more effective.

For professional and school purposes, the idea of being multifunctional and fitting to form of the function can be very efficient. In creating single systems that are able to serve different purposes cuts out the need for multiple processes that would create more costs, more time wasted, etc. The idea of fitting to form also can create more efficient work. With the example in the paper of Mashavu and their stethoscopes, it is demonstrated that one does not necessarily have to spend a lot of time and resources searching for marginally better materials, but can use what is readily and easily available to them and can make just as good of a product if they put some creativity and deeper thinking to it.

I have seen this principle already begin to be applied to my teams test strips project. With the talk of the marketing for the strips collaborating with the communications of the strip through radio shows and other forms of media, I see the idea of creating multifunctional strategies coming into play.

 

3: How do you envision integrating the cradle to cradle design concept into your project (and life)? Give one compelling example.

I think that the idea of cradle to cradle could be integrated into our project by focusing on a way for our products and process of distribution to be either waste or pollution free, or for those aspects of the project to create as little waste as possible. If the test strips and its packaging had the ability to be broken down and had the ability to re-enter the environment as opposed to being disposed and remaining as waste, they would be a good example of the cradle to cradle focused product. I am not sure how feasible that would be, as creating packaging and products that are able to decompose like that would be more expensive, but I think that would be the most easily applicable example of how to integrate the idea of cradle to cradle into our product.

 

4: Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a complete alien concept to you.

One concept that I had discussed with a friend was the idea of just how much technology has changed human interaction, and it kind of opened my eyes to how trust probably has changed. There must have been a lot more trust prior to electronic communication, as people would just have to rely on someone and trust they would show up somewhere to pick them up, etc without communication, whereas we check in constantly to make sure people are doing what they have to do.

The concept of taking an obstacle and twisting it to make it an advantage is something I had also discussed with a friend. They told me about a book they read where a boxer was falsely found guilty of murder and given life in jail, but instead of giving up after being dealt a horrible situation, they used the time to gain knowledge on the law and the judicial system, and ended up using that to get himself freed. It just made me more aware to the fact that no matter how bad the situation you find yourself in, you could find a positive within it.

Another important concept that I hadn’t really thought too much of before was the idea of creating versus reacting. Many people, including myself, tend to just react to what happens in life. I was told that although this can get you by just fine, excelling in life requires people to create their own situation and take action. That made me realize just how much I went with the flow rather than creating opportunities for myself, and made me realize that I needed to be a creator if I wanted to become very successful.

 

Zach Day CINQ 396 Blog 2/10/19

1: Describe the 5 major stakeholders for your project and their motivations.

One of the largest stakeholders the Ukweli Test Strips project has is World Hope International. As a partner to Lehigh University and the Test Strip Project, WHI works with us to help train healthcare workers in terms of administering the product. In addition to the training of health workers in the communities, they also employ the people who transport the strips from Freetown to Makeni, and also have the jobs of distributing the strips from the WHI office in Makeni to the Peripheral Health Units.

Another stakeholder present in Sierra Leone for the Ukweli Test Strip project is the Community Health Workers, otherwise known as the CHWs. The CHWs are responsible for screening pregnant women who show signs of having a UTI, and also are in charge of referring women who test positive through our test strips to PHUs. In addition, the CHWs receive some income through selling the test strips. So while their motivation may be monetary related, motivation could also come from the fact they are the most active members in getting initial help for at risk pregnant women.

The women who are going to be tested with the strips also fall under the category of stockholders for this project. Obviously, as a pregnant mother, especially as a pregnant mother in the nation with the highest maternal mortality, taking all the steps necessary in order to be as healthy as possible for birth is critical. With our test strips providing an effective, and also a cheap or free option to identify a major factor in the high maternal mortality rate of the country, this product provides a major help to pregnant women in focusing on their health and wellbeing. For this reason, the pregnant women in and around Makeni should have a high motivation to utilize our product.

The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) also poses as a stakeholder for our project, as they oversee the national line of health operations that ultimately ends at Community Health Workers. One of the main focuses of the Ministry of Health is focused towards the reduction of the high maternal mortality rate in the nation, so they would have a very obvious motivation in being a stakeholder for the test strips. Any product like ours, which poses a very real possibility of helping reduce the maternal mortality rate should draw interest from this stakeholder.

The workers in charge of distributing the test strips from the ports of Freetown to the communities receiving the product can also be considered stakeholders for the project. Although they do not have no part with the actual screening of the pregnant women who may have UTIs, they are responsible for the strips actually reaching the communities and villages where the screening will be done, and their salary is reliant upon delivering this product. Their motivations come in the form of a paycheck, as well as the desire to help those in need.

 

2: Describe 3 ways in which you will validate your project and enhance your credibility over the course of the semester.

One way the Ukweli Test Strip team will continue to increase credibility over the course of the semester could be to update and/or improve on the training of the people administering the test strips. If the professionals on the ground in Sierra Leone are not properly educated on how the product works or what exactly the product should be used towards, the test strips could be used improperly or not used when needed. This would then most likely cause the public perception of the product to fall, leading to no one wanting to use it and the project failing. Inversely, if the workers in Sierra Leone were trained as well as they could be, then they would know when to use it and the public would see them as a credible tool to use for maternal health.

A marketing license, which is what the group has been trying to obtain, would also help validate the test strips in the eyes of the communities receiving them. When people see a product being promoted, they often times consider that item as a good option. Therefore, If the test strips were given the ability to be more widely marketed to communities and it’s information be more widely distributed, more people in Sierra Leone would see it as a more viable product.

Working on and planning ways to implement the test strips in more locations outside of Makeni would also help enhance the credibility of the product. Increasing the amount of people in various areas who are exposed to the test strips would demonstrate to more people the effectiveness of our product, and therefore will increase the credibility and effectiveness of the test strip in identifying UTIs in pregnant women.

 

Zach Day CINQ 396 Blog 2/8/19

1: Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project

One cultural difference my team talked about was the concept of time for the people of Sierra Leone. While Americans follow schedules closely, Sierra Leoneans are much less concerned about showing up on time. This could affect our project in the sense that it could make it difficult to schedule meetings with locals and plan out the day in general.

Another issue in Sierra Leone is the way the different genders interact with each other. As mentioned by some of my group members that had gone to Sierra Leone this past summer, many women over there do not feel comfortable going to men regarding the health issues we are focusing on. With many workers in these villages being men, women may not disclose potential UTI threats to them, meaning the women that would benefit from our product would not be given them.

The popularity of traditional medicine in Sierra Leone could also impact our project. Since many people still believe in herbal, spiritual, and other forms of traditional medicine, some women could look towards those forms of treatment rather than the more Western and more modern approach to health care that we are implementing.

 

2: Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least 3 such situations.

Living with my sister and my mom, I have seen and heard their opinion on having to see male doctors. I have heard my sister mention how she does not feel very comfortable discussing some aspects of her health, and how she feels like a female doctor or nurse could understand my sisters health better.

I have also experienced how people not sticking to meeting times can be detrimental. Over winter break I had made plans with some friends to get food, and made other plans with other friends to hang out right after. However, the friends I were getting food with ended up not being ready in time for the original meeting time and I ended up having to cancel on my other friends. Although this situation is not as important as the negotiations and meetings we will be doing in Sierra Leone, I have seen the negative effects of people not following schedules.

Although I have not seen too much of this back home, my mom has told me of a few of her friends who have gone to see herbal medical specialist instead of actual doctors. Although my moms friends say that medicine has been helpful, my mom highly doubts that.

3: Give 3 examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community/market problems

With the idea of hierarchy and social statuses being big in Sierra Leone, these notions could be used to help a market like the one we are working in with our project. If Sierra Leoneans who are looked up to and hold high places on these social hierarchies promote what we are working on, I feel like more citizens would buy into the market.

Markets could also leverage the fact that Sierra Leone places a large emphasis on consensus. If a market is able to get a group of people to originally accept a product, like in our case our test strips to benefit maternal health, then a larger portion of the public could buy into the idea of using it.

Communities could also make use of the fact that Sierra Leone society has a culture of being high collectivist. With that knowledge, markets could probably get more people to individually gain trust in a product if they focus it towards groups of similar people to start.

 

4: In regards to your ventures, how does the African context present different challenges than the American context? Give at least 3 examples.

Poor infrastructure is one aspect that provides a larger challenge in Sierra Leone than the United States. While almost all Americans can easily get from place to place as they please, many Sierra Leoneans have major troubles traveling, which definitely impacts the number of people who seek medical help when they need it.

The lack of doctors is another issue more prevalent in Sierra Leone than America, and one that impacts our project. With only 0.05 doctors per 1,000 people in Sierra Leone, the medical help that people are able to receive is very limited, or of less quality than that of the United States, so women who could benefit from our product may not receive them.

In addition, the fact that Sierra Leone is a majority Muslim nation could make an impact on our project. I do not know if this would definitely impact how Sierra Leoneans would view this product focused on reproductive and women’s health since I have not been to the country, but I could see this mindset hindering our project to some extent.

5: In regard to your ventures, how does the African context offer different resources than the American context. Give at least 3 examples.

Having UNICEF working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation provides a resource within the nation that the United States does not have. This allows the Sierra Leone government to receive extra funding that can go to different projects, like further promoting maternal health.

Free health care for pregnant women, mothers of young children, and people of protected populations is also a great resource for Sierra Leoneans that is not available for Americans. This is beneficial for our project, as it does not prohibit women from getting medical help on the basis of costs.

The resources of having community elected health workers is another resource available for the Sierra Leoneans. Having people working in the health sector within villages where they are respected and trusted by the locals could cause an increase in the amount of people who go receive medical help.