Working with the Haller Foundation: Developing technology for good
Red Badger teamed up with the Haller Foundation on a pro-bono basis to develop a mobile application which helps Kenyan farmers
In December 2013 Red Badger teamed up with the Haller Foundation, a UK-based charity to support its work in helping subsistence farmers in Kenya. The Haller Foundation works with farmers in Kenya to help them rehabilitate their land and achieve sustainable self-sufficiency. But with only 1 extension officer for every 1,000 farmers in Kenya, the process of reaching them is slow, inefficient and expensive.
Haller approached Red Badger wanting to explore the potential to use new technologies to extend these initiatives to a much wider farming audience in Kenya.
- Mobile usage in Kenya is surprisingly high with around 50% of Kenyan’s owning a smartphone and this number is growing rapidly thanks to the digital advancements which have been made in recent years.
- Utilising this greater communication power to launch an app specifically designed to support the agricultural improvements of Kenyan farmers was the logical next step.
This web app fits perfectly with our approach – it releases potential through practical ideas that are collaborative, self-sustainable and resourceful
Red Badger staff worked together with design agency, Pearlfisher, to provide the user experience, visual design and development of a new mobile website that will enable Haller to deliver the training to the farmers that need it, across the entire country. A prototype was delivered within 5 months and tested with different kinds of farmers in Kenya that would be using the app. This gave Red Badger vital feedback in a number of areas:
- Mobile data packages in Kenya are traditionally small but competitively priced
- There were wide regional disparities in literacy rates
- Although English is the national language over half the small holder farmers surveyed didn’t speak English
The unique and innovative technical design of the app addresses all these issues. The total size of the app is less than 1MB in total thanks to intelligent use of lightweight iconography and other design considerations. The download is stored on the device itself and only changes if any updates are required or when using the marketplace feature.
The app is multi-lingual with both Swahili and English versions, and literacy issues are further addressed via an audio feature with Swahili translations. Strong use of visuals and symbols also make the app as intuitive to use as possible.
The app was successfully launched in Nairobi in November 2014, and is already being used by farmers – after taking less than a year to deliver. Red Badger and Haller both see huge potential to extend this technology to other parts of Africa and even further afield.