AMP app testing project at Agbobloshie

Observations made by the team regarding the App

Below are the key insights from the team.

Limitations

  • Many people at Agbogbloshie prefers to call than use the app, but the fact that it will connect them to many people and places is appreciated.
  • Most of them don’t have android phones
  • Most people don’t have time, instead their focus is getting cash
  • The app does not work on windows phone thus cannot be downloaded by those using the phone
  • Uploading pictures make the upload time longer
  • No upload progress shown and takes about 5-20 minutes to complete
  • The app does not show whether it is a request or an offer

Suggestions

  • Login should allow for registration of more than one number so that one person with a smartphone can register for as many people as possible, and can also upload items on their behalf
  • The prices on the app should be realistic and consistent (the new Ghanaian cede value should be used instead of the old one)
  • Include categories whereby it shows materials either in alphabetical order or base on popularity
  • Rate the seller using stars
  • Optimization of the image size for speedy upload
  • An option to register as an individual or group
  • The group factor in the app should be activated
  • The app should clearly show whether an item is an offer or a request
  • There should be a central point where those who do not use/have Android phones can be using to buy or sell materials.  e.g making a computer or two available for them to access the services within Agbogbloshie
  • The user interface should be made more attractive and appealing
  • It should allow the user to send their feedback
  • Apart from calling, the app should allow other  forms of communication between the users e.g Whatsapp. The user will therefore choose according to affordability
  • The app should be able to work in other platforms e.g Window phone, IOS
  • Most people at Agblogbloshie needs to be educated on how to use the App and its importance, some thought that the App was exploiting them, which is not the case
  • The use of middlemen to connect
  • Include the feature where you can tag someone – when you want to alert someone else to check a material out. (For instance, you tagging kumasi hive to see a product I have posted)
  • Put a time schedule on how long a post can stay on the app as we saw one that was eight months old.
  • It is fast to upload pictures when posting using a laptop
  • The App should have an in-chat ability

We believe that the suggestions will go a long way in improving the user experience.

Personal Experiences

Wuyeh Jobe – Computer Science ’19 

It was give back time for Ashesi MasterCard scholars and students were asked to choose an area of interest so that they can have fun in the process. As usual, I took information technology. I have always been passionate about things that has to do with technology. Added to that, I believe that technology can bring unimaginable change in our societies only if we know how to harness it. I was extremely excited when I learned that we were going to be testing an app that will connect buyers and sellers of scrap materials. However, travelling from Ashesi (Berekuso) to Impact Hub (Osu) daily decreased my vim for the give back project. But it was not going to stop me. The first day we went to the hub to learn more about the app and the tasks we should carry out was on a Friday. In the morning we descend from Ashesi to Berekuso car park. It was a hectic journey from Berekuso to Osu that is marked by very long traffic, uncomfortable “trotos”, and momentarily walking. But I was convinced that it was going to worth the struggle. We arrived at Osu after a three-hour long journey and we met with Yasmine and DK. They were the facilitators of the project. We rested a bit, quenched our thirst, then started the conversation. DK and Yasmine took us through our task for the week to come and the deliverable at the end of the project. Before that time, we have already downloaded the apk file of the AMP(Agbogbloshie Maker-space Platform) app, and installed it.

The first thing that comes to mind after seeing the app was, “how possibly can this connect buyers and sellers of scrap?”. But it didn’t take long before I realized it’s potential in the near future.

Tuesday of the following week, was my first day at Agbogbloshie and honestly I was thrilled by what I saw. The area covered by scrap was beyond my view and there were more than hundred different types of scrap. My faith in the potential benefit of the app was boosted by what I saw. We were escorted by some people who work at Agbogbloshie to different scrap dealers. Going from one scrap dealer to another, I was so sad that most people couldn’t see how the app could benefit them. In fact, some of them said they didn’t have time to speak because they were so busy. Some didn’t have smartphone to register. However, we were able to register some few people. The entire experience on that day made me believe that change is impossible without engaging those who need that change, and this was evidenced by the “loopholes” we noticed and the suggestions we came up with.

We carried out the experiment on Thursday. It was the most fantastic day in the project. On this day we looked for parts on behalf of KLAKS 3D and make purchases. The most exciting thing about the transaction was the fact that it was initiated by the AMP app. The transaction ensued when KLAKS 3D uploaded the items they needed on the AMP app, and we went to Agbogbloshie to look for them.

We found all of the things they needed except for one. We requested them to test the parts and they work perfectly. We then purchase them.

The whole experience was just incredible and we will love to see the app thrive. I have no doubt that if the app is understood and embraced by the scrap dealers it may redefine their role in national development.

Brenes Ombere- Business Administration ’19 

Agbogbloshie, famously known as the ‘dump’ is the place I plan to spend my four days of community give-back project. How do I feel about it? That am not certain because I have never been to the place prior to today. The only information I have about the place is that it is not a pleasant place to be and the people there are not ‘good’.

A group of seven students, arrive at Impact Hub Accra, our temporary office space while working on the project. Feeling a bit tired from the long drive from Berekuso, we set off for the famous ‘dump’. Upon arriving at Agbogbloshie, we are met and warmly welcomed with men who wore big smiles. At this moment am not sure if it is because they are happy they got new customers,due to the fact that they noticed we were foreigners, they saw familiar faces, Yasmine and Kay (they have been working with the people) or they are generally hospitable.

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A scrap dealer testing some of the parts

After a great tour around the ‘dump’, it dawn on me that Agbogbloshie is one of the many stereotypes that people attach to issues that they are not fully aware of. From my own experience, the people at Agbogbloshie are citizens who take a path that many are unfamiliar with with the hope of putting a meal on the table in a midst of economic difficulties. Apart from Ashesi, Agbogbloshie is the next place that I felt comfortable working around without fearing that someone might snatch by purse or phone. This means, that these people have their code of conduct that they abide by as a community.
Magical was the fact that they too have a great organisational structure where there is a leader who they refer to as master; he makes decisions on their behalf. What about their communal living? They are quite religious and follow their schedule to the latter. The instruments that come out of the hands of these marginalized men are quite antique and amazing that most people are not aware of.
The days I have spent working with people at Agbogbloshie have been life-changing and I am confident that the technology from the AMP(Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform) App will be the start of good things for the community and the nation at large.

Nanis Muringuri- Computer Science ’19

This was a great, fantastic and amazing experience! Do you ever sit down and ask yourself what happens of all the scrap metals human beings throw away every single day? Yes, people make a living out of it and they are richer than you!! Aren’t you shocked? If you are not, I am! We complain of unemployment every single day and blame the government for our lack of creativity and innovation. If someone can make a living out of e-waste, can’t we reduce unemployment in our continent?

What is your role as unemployment continues to hurt our economy? Having visited Agbogbloshie for a fieldwork research, I believe that linking innovation to the sector of e-waste may lead to greater employment and wealth creation. This sector which is mainly characterized by low levels of health and safety standards, low awareness of environment issues and lack of information that is essential for technology transfer is a great resource for employment creation especially among the youths.

E-waste has become a serious threat to our environment as more and more gadgets are thrown out after usage into dustbins which leads to toxic pollution. Rapid technological advancements and globalization of economy has made it possible to make electronics products available to all but, on the other side, it has also led to the E-waste generation. E-waste has a lot of recoverable and valuable resources like plastics, gold, copper, aluminum, and iron. To preserve our natural resources, all e-waste can be recycled and reused instead of dumped into landfills.

Do you know that there are plenty of business opportunities around the corner but, if you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, then starting your entrepreneurial journey in services business can turn out to be the best bet for you? But what do you mind about getting hands dirty if you can make some good money each day? To conquer the problem of E-waste, able men at Agbogbloshie are creating their own job opportunities. This reminds me of the common quote among most inspirational speakers…” Don’t be a job seeker, instead be a job creator. “ There is no limit to which field you can venture in. The world is big, opportunities are knocking at your doorstep for you to exploit.  Used electronics that form majority of the e-waste are available for: reuse, recycling, and resale.

Hundreds of small workshops are in Agbogbloshie where people bang out pots, pans, auto parts and handicraft, literally under the hot sun and unconducive environment day in day out. It is not only hot work, it is harsh work, often done under conditions that are neither safe nor regulated.

AMP app creates livelihood opportunities by linking people with e-waste parts to clients on demand who are in need of those parts. This makes it easier and efficient for people to sell the parts easily and also for someone who is in need of that part to easily access it by checking the uploaded pictures in the App. As a team, we tested the App with scrap metal dealers at Agbogbloshie connecting them to Kumasi Hive who are potential buyers and it was an awesome experience.

Claire Chemutai – Computer Science ’19

As part of community give back during summer, I worked with the Qampnet in testing its application called AMP. The application connects the buyer and seller of e-waste materials. The first day is the day we were introduced to the basics of what the AMP application does and how it works. Being the first time to hear about the application, I was a bit confused but with time, I and my team members got to fully understand what it was all about. On the second day, we went out for fieldwork at Agbogbloshie.

The place was filled with scrap metals all over with lots of men working on repairing fridges, televisions, AC parts and engines. That is just to mention a few. I went there with the expectations that the people there may not be ready to talk to us, that they don’t associate with people since they are viewed to be doing “dirty work”. Everything I encountered there was against my expectations. The few people I interviewed were friendly though some were not ready to start a discussion with us. Finally we managed to pass our message to them, convinced them how the application is of a great value to them and made a few who had android phones download the app.

We connected a few people working with Kumasi hive to download the app, post some of the materials they needed in the app and we went a further step in purchasing the materials for them at Agbogbloshie. The AMP app therefore helped them get materials they needed for the KLAKS 3D. A transaction was therefore made between the Kumasi hive and the Agbogbloshie workers.

Impact hub became our working space for the week. We work up every day very early in school to get to impact hub, though transportation became a little bit of challenge to us. Working with impact hub gave me the best research skills. I also learns how to work well in a team and be ready to work in different conditions, from office to field. Our facilitators DK and Yesmin gave us the best support to the end.

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At Agbogbloshie

Sally Dibba- Business Administration ’19

Basically, IT was my main aim for this give back project. However, the whole project turns out to be the testing of an application called AMP. In the initial stage, I found the situation a bit tiresome and boring because I had no idea about the whole project and we had to travel a distance of two-three hours’ drive. I wanted to quit in the first place. But the whole idea became fun when I understood the whole concept behind the project and the app.

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In Action

This has made a positive impact on my life for the mere fact that I actually did a fieldwork research; which improved my research skill as well as help build connections and networks due to meeting new people here in Ghana.

Pauline Dorcas Owino – Management Information Systems ’19

The use of technology today has made the world seem like a small village. However, it is so unfortunate that not everyone in it has fully understood nor appreciated its benefits.  For my Community Give-back project, I chose to work on the field of Technology because I wanted to help the community understand what Technology entails, its full benefits and drawbacks too.

I therefore worked with Qampnet, the founders of AMP (Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform) App on testing out the App at Agbogbloshie.  The experience during this period was so great. There was a lot to learn from both the ‘not so pleasing’ environment of Agbogbloshie, the people we met during this period and the whole testing out process. Having Impact Hub Accra as our main working space, the ride to and from the Hub from school was always tiring. At the Hub we met a great team consisting of Yasmine, DK, Nicholas and Kay who always made sure that the mission was accomplished. Our first visit to Agbogbloshie was not pleasing at all.

This is a place filled with a lot of e-waste and plastic materials. Before I walked into the place, the first thought that came to my mind was what good can come out of such a place, just like many people think outside there. However, after making a short tour of the place while testing the App, I was thrilled by the good that can come out of the supposedly waste materials. I realized the opportunities that are available in the place that people see as a dumping site. I realized the many things that we have bought that have been made from the place yet we have never known. I also realized how very many people make a living out of the e-waste materials there. After my visit to Agbogbloshie, I came to understand how truly one man’s meat is another man’s poison. The people there were very friendly and welcoming. Their view about the place was an eye-opener to me. The great plans and ambitions that they have for the e-waste at the place were amazing. The people were excited about using the App despite challenges like lack of a smartphone and the preferred use of calls than other means.

In conclusion, it was a pleasure working with Qampnet and am looking forward to continue working with them in future, to help connect different maker-spaces and help ease the process of acquiring and selling e-waste materials among them, plus the products made from the e-waste materials.

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One comment

  1. dkoa · August 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on AMP.

    Like

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