"Professional, Insightful, Collaborative"
"..the project document partly included ideas generated through the project that were not part of the original work description, but integrally made it better.."
"..the project did produce new information, but even more importantly, confirmed our initial understandings in many ways, things that we had thought were accurate but did not yet have any proof on.."
Ungana-Afrika has implemented over 30 projects in ten African countries for almost 20 customers, with emphasis on the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Customer retention and loyalty and several audited financial reports are a proven track record of our high quality of work.
Our projects have varied from short term studies for international organisations to multi-year and multi-country programs with teams of several professionals and multi-million Rand budgets. We are also familiar with virtual project environments with team members based in different continents.
Selected projects that Ungana-Afrika has been involved in are given below.
Business modelling and feasibility assessments for broadband services via scalable community centric enterprise model
Ungana-Afrika is working closely with the Meraka Institute of the CSIR (The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) on the Broadband for All (BB4ALL) Project, which will be providing broadband connectivity to under-served areas of South Africa through a community centric model, as opposed to a typical telco-driven model.
The BB4ALL program is building an alternative ecosystem where the value chain emphasises local value, keeping revenues in the community as far as possible. The model leverages internally developed wireless mesh technologies to link priority government sites and high bandwidth users such as schools, municipalities and government offices, who in turn provide a link to smaller customers such as businesses, NGOs and individuals. The model relies on local entrepreneurs (Village Operators) to operate, maintain and expand the network, tailoring their services to meet local needs. By aggregating the latent demand for Internet in under-served areas and using low-cost technologies, the model promises to provide affordable Internet connectivity in areas that larger service providers do not see as economically viable.
To benefit from economies of scale, numerous implementation sites are needed, and these will need to be evaluated efficiently to test their viability before investments are made. To assist with this task, Ungana-Afrika developed a site feasibility assessment methodology for the project. Ungana-Afrika also outlined relevant business model components as a basis for understanding the functioning of a Village Operator enterprise.
Business modelling and feasibility analysis for mobile services in a poor rural context
Ungana-Afrika implemented a community-centric business modelling and feasibility study for a Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection trial in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa. Ungana-Afrika's role was to analyse the long-term sustainability of the planned Village Connection trial within the Dwesa community, to guide strategic decision-making before the planned installation and roll-out of the technology components. This trial was a part of the Cooperation Framework on Innovation Systems between Finland and South Africa (COFISA) aim to pilot mechanisms for rural innovation. The principal customer was DST (Department of Science and Technology) in South Africa, and the project was a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between a number of different stakeholders ranging from academia to private industry to government, with an interest in rural development and innovation. Follow the links to read the executive summary, or download the full report to learn more about the project including our analysis and recommendations.
Strategic advice for UNICEF in South Africa to consider scaling-up potential of selected development sector mobile phone projects
During this project, implemented in collaboration with Women'sNet for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in South Africa, Ungana-Afrika evaluated the technology use of three projects using mobile technologies for development purposes. In addition, Ungana-Afrika developed a technology considerations framework in order to be able to evaluate technology related aspects of projects, concepts and services based on mobile technologies, and to provide recommendations to support their future development. The purpose of the main study was to provide information for UNICEF, to be used as a baseline to inform and kick start further discussions and strategy development with key stakeholders for the potential scaling up of cell phone technology usage in projects with a development agenda. Follow the link to download the full report 'Rapid assessment of cell phones for development'.
Incubation advice for an ICT support services program targeting a network of HIV/AIDS organisations in Mozambique
Ungana-Afrika provided program incubation support to help Fundação para o Desenvolvimento da Comunidade (FDC), a community developement foundation, implement a sustainable ICT capacity building and support project for a network of HIV/AIDS organisations in Maputo and Gaza provinces of Mozambique.
At the start of the project Ungana-Afrika and FDC conducted a preliminary assessment of 12 organisation that are part of FDC's HIV/AIDS program. The study revealed that all organisations are currently struggling to utilise even the most basic ICT tools and only two of the organisations are able to sustain the skills, funds and infrastructure needed to make use of basic computer reporting, data collection, and internet communications. The outcomes of the study suggested a two year project that is focusing on improving the capacity of the organisations to adopt ICT and strategically integrate them into their operations. The implementation phase started with staff recruitment, training, and more detailed project planning, and continued with a technology planning process and training for the organisations.
Start-up training to support the launch of three ICT assistance programs in West Africa
In April 2005 the Open Society Institute West Africa (OSIWA) initiated three eRiding-based ICT support programs in Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. Because of Ungana-Afrika's specialization in nonprofit ICT support and training, OSIWA asked Ungana-Afrika to provide a two-week start-up training program for these projects. This training was launched between August 16-24, 2005 in Dakar Senegal, where each team (each with 3-4 participants) gathered.
This training provided participants a basis of knowledge and skills needed to start an ICT support and capacity building program of their own, and to design an appropriate business model for their operations, including:
- A thorough understanding of the eRiding model and associated processes.
- An understanding of the ICT environment within African development networks.
- An understanding of effective consulting methodology for African development networks.
- An understanding of training methodology and planning for technical support.
- Basic management and business-planning concepts that can be applied when planning, sustaining and scaling autonomous eRiding operations.
- An introduction to related concepts and tools important to eRiding work (free and open source software, connectivity such as wireless, etc.).
The training materials used have been developed by Ungana-Afrika (in cooperation with the global eRider community and Teresa Crawford) and are published as part of the eRiders.net portal. Laura Drewett (currently with Adapted Consulting) helped facilitate the entire training program on-site, including material development assistance.
'Strategies for the adoption of mobile technologies' - White paper based on a short research study
By analyzing the opportunities of emerging technologies Ungana-Afrika has provided valuable technical expertise to development agencies. In 2008 Ungana-Afrika performed a short research study with the aim to summarise the most promising and relevant mobile technologies and further define how these technologies can be utilised by development organisations. The study was funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the report was published as a white paper on the resource section of this site.
Content development for Mobiles in-a-box, using mobile phones for advocacy toolkit
The mobiles in-a-box toolkit published by Tactical Technology Collective "..is a collection of tools, tactics, how-to guides and case studies designed to help advocacy and activist organisations use mobile technology in their work." As part of the editorial team our role was to provide advice related to the financial aspects of implementing mobile advocacy projects - a sample of Ungana-Afrika's skills to demystify mobile technology issues faced by many decision makers.
Assisting EngenderHealth to research the information management needs of community based health care organisations in Southern Africa
Ungana-Afrika was contracted by EngenderHealth to assist in their field research for the Health Toolkit project, which investigated the data-management practices and needs of community based organisations and health care providers in Africa. Ungana-Afrika contributed local knowledge of Southern Africa, and assisted with research, logistics and technology assessments in four countries in the region; they also contributed sections on country and organisational technology assessments to the health toolkit. The results of the field research were presented to the health information community at the Health Informatics for Southern Africa (HISA) conference. This project contributed significantly to understanding the data management needs of HIV/AIDS caregivers in low-resource settings.
Projects supporting the development and rollout of technology applications
Ungana-Afrika's expertise has been used to test, evaluate, and pilot different technology applications on the ground to ensure that these applications are designed to meet the needs of the target markets, and the challenges and requirements of the African continent.
Most of the technology applications African organisations are using have been developed elsewhere. Unfortunately on-the-ground realities in Africa are quite different from those in first world countries. Lack of reliable connectivity, low skills levels of users and related challenges have often not been understood when new products were developed, and eventually rolled out in new territories including Africa. To ensure that an application is appropriate to the emerging markets context, the expertise of Ungana-Afrika has been used while the application was still being developed. The feedback and recommendations Ungana-Afrika have provided has been valuable to technology providers interested in expanding into new markets. Our previous projects include a website content management system, list-checking tools for grant providers, and an open source broadcast and production tools for community radios.