In 2005, FluidIT Solutions — a company specializing in information and communication technologies (ICTs) — conducted a research project on the effectiveness of native-language training videos as tools for spreading solar cooker knowledge in Nigeria. When founder Carole St. Laurent first visited Ago-Are, community members expressed an interest in learning about solar cooking. (They had brief exposure to the idea from an earlier visitor.) St. Laurent researched solar cookers, sent literature about how to build and use them, and requested feedback about the usefulness of the information. She received minimal feedback. Given that rural Nigeria has a variety of local languages, varying literacy levels, and strong oral traditions, St. Laurent wondered if locally-made videos would be a more effective method of communicating about solar cooking. Two local nongovernmental organizations, Fantsuam Foundation and Oke-Ogun Community Development Network (OCDN), expressed interest in working with FluidIT Solutions to test this approach. Over a period of several weeks, FluidIT Solutions implemented three training programs for local staff and volunteers: solar cooking, video production, and on-line networking and publication. Two training videos were created, one in Hausa language and the other in Yoruba language. The videos were tested during a series of workshops offered to community members. Though the sample size was small, the data indicated that videos were useful in explaining what solar cookers are and why they are used. The videos were less successful at explaining how to orient a solar cooker properly with respect to the sun’s location. An in-depth project report is available on-line at http://www.fluiditsolutions.com/solar-cooking-ict4d-case-study-st-laurent.pdf.
Carole St. Laurent, FluidIT Solutions