The New School
Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Oregon State University
This case study examines agency within monitoring and evaluation (M&E) schemes for international development projects. Specifically, it evaluates a sensor to measure fuel consumption of clean cookstoves as a method of maintaining accountability and soliciting data on stove performance. Despite trends of increasingly automated M&E, the decisions of choosing, analyzing, and translating outcomes and indicators are influenced by stakeholder input. Through various rapid ethnographic methods including surveys and interviews with government agencies, non-profits, and clean stove users, in addition to participant observation and focal follow of stove users in Central America and Uganda, the interactions and inputs of various agents throughout the project lifetime are assessed. Further, it is discussed that while not all actors were equitably engaged throughout the entirety...
This PechaKucha explores the ways in which the author navigated cheating culture, community norms, and her own biases to think through sustainable education solutions in Cambodia. Students in Cambodia's countryside are structurally disadvantaged and attempt to redress wealth and knowledge imbalances through cheating. However, cheating causes skills gaps that hinder students as they look for jobs, particularly since they are competing with applicants from other ASEAN countries. The presenter discusses how she, and her Cambodian co-teacher, sifted through their competing biases about the merits and pitfalls of cheating in their classroom, settling on ethnographic practice as a way forward. They observed student cheating behaviors, noting the tools, networks, and systems of exchange through which information passed. Instead of penalizing students for cheating, the presenter and her counterpart attempted to transform these deceptive methods into something more productive.
SARAH LEBARON VON BAEYER
Case Study—This paper presents a case study of a project on education solutions for Syrian refugees in Jordan conducted between 2015-2017. First, it describes how ReD's methodological approach provided a unique perspective to studies on refugees. By immersing a team in the day-to-day lives and settings that most Syrian refugees experience in Jordan—i.e., outside of camps and in people's actual homes—ReD led its client to “think outside the camp,” something that relief agencies and companies often fail to do due to the refugee camp model of humanitarian assistance that, ever since WWII, has dominated the approach to refugees. Second, as a result of its unique methodological approach, ReD uncovered important findings about social networks and technology use and access in Syrian refugees’ homes and communities that ultimately shaped the client's perspective on solution development. For example, ReD's team of ethnographers found that nearly all out-of-camp Syrian households had...
LUCIANA AGUIAR, United Nations Development Program
Luciana Aguiar is Private Sector Partnerships Manager of the United Nations Development Programme in Brazil. She holds a PhD in anthropology from Cornell University and has decades of experience in ethnographic research and with “base of the pyramid” populations. Over the years, she has carried out ethnographic research, impact assessment and social responsibility projects on behalf of many institutions, such as the International Development Bank, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and Comunidade Solidária. An expert on inclusive businesses, she has worked with the private sector in the areas of financial inclusion, consumer goods, technology, retail, and communication....
Understanding Internet connectivity in remote regions presents a host of logistical and methodological challenges. As researchers and business professionals, we cannot just assume that these places are simply Unconnected. We must understand the challenges people face in connecting, in what ways they have connectivity, and in what ways they do not. This paper examines research methods and framing to investigate Internet connectivity options for residents of the diverse terrain of the Himalayan foothills....
ERIN B. TAYLOR and HEATHER A. HORST
How do users incorporate mobile money into their existing practices and adapt it to their needs? The answers can be surprising. Simultaneously a commodity, a store of value, and a social good, mobile money combines a large array of applications within the one platform. This is why mobile money has been touted for its potential for socioeconomic development, as a profitable commercial enterprise, and even as a tool for strengthening governance. The fact that customers rarely use it for just one purpose can also make it difficult to untangle customers’ motives and behaviors. In this paper we compare our own research with other studies to demonstrate how deploying a full suite of ethnographic methods (qualitative and quantitative) can provide significant insights into users. We present three key insights relating to time, trust, and traces / trajectories, and make suggestions for the future of mobile money research....
TONY SALVADOR, JOHN W. SHERRY, L. WILTON AGATSTEIN and HSAIN ILAHIANE
With more than five billion people, large corporations have expressed non-trivial interest in “emerging markets” as potential future sources of revenue. We in this community of ethnographic praxis, are privileged to move with some ease between corporate board rooms and people’s living rooms around the world. Yet, our messages and meanings that might lead to positive action are hampered by both our own language – that of development – and the ways in which people hear our language through specific cognitive heuristics and biases. In this paper, we specifically unpack the prevalent business interest concerning the “digital divide”. We discuss how that particular framing, i.e., digital, divide, essentializes upwards of 85-90% of the global population as simply poor and living in developing countries limiting business engagement. We argue that these predilections are further magnified by specific cognitive heuristics and biases we all posses but which are...
FUMIKO ICHIKAWA and HIROSHI TAMURA
How would Japan's rural communities renew oneself when the nation's economy no longer holds the absolute financial and technological powers in the global sphere? Through our post-3.11 recovery effort in local communities of Kesennuma, Japan, we discuss - a gap between the perceptions of Japan's rise from the 1950s and how in fact rural economies, such as the one in Kesennuma, have lost independency through its process. This paper seeks to capture the power of Maru, an inter-local activity, seeking an alternative to the conventional model of development based on the economy of capitalism, and how ethnography and design would play a central role in the success of community revival....