Research Travel Program: Worldreader FYP, Ghana - Day One

Posted on Tue, March 26, 2013 by Carole Gaudet.

Meeting the local team, seeing their mobile application in action...

Worldreader is a US and European non-profit whose mission is to make digital books available to children and their families in the developing world. The team had support from the Center for Business & Society for an academic course, the First-Year Project (FYP). The team's task was to evaluate how to scale a newly launched mobile reading application to 1 million users while simultaneously increasing the use of the application by the end of 2013.  

Today was the first day of work on the project and we went to Busy Internet, a building where Worldreader rents office space. At their office, the objectives of the day were to meet their local team for the first time, to see their mobile application in action, and to discuss the plan of the week. We have also interviewed several people that were at the building as potential users.

Busy Internet is a business hub that combines the following: small offices that are rented by companies/organizations like Worldreader; internet access for people who go there to work either bringing their own laptops or using one of the available computers; and kiosks that offer services such as copy center, photography center and mobile phones. Considering this, it is a place visited by people of different backgrounds and occupation that could be a target for interviews. Two different interviewees, for example, were there looking for a new job and went to Busy Internet because it was a place where they could find about new jobs.

First impressions about Ghana:
• People are very friendly and most of the people were willing to talk to us when we asked them. One of my interviews opened up his camera to show me pictures of his home office and the construction site he had been working on.
• You never take a break from the heat. Even when there is air conditioning, the temperatures are still very high. We really had to get used to do things at a slower pace.
• People really dress up. It was very unusual to find anyone that was not elegantly dressed, not only at the business hubs, but also on the streets.