Digital inclusion – Bridging the Digital Divide – a case study

on-included Open source, open data and digital inclusion; a state, a condition and a right.

Digital inequality has meant those without access and means are restricted to their immediate market, Digital exclusion impacts the individual, the family, community and increasingly the ability to engage in the political and democratic process.

Peace Through Prosperity

The hypothesis; if we make the products and services of the micro-entrepreneurs accessible to the digitally included,  their micro-businesses will experience further growth and innovation in Karachi; a rapidly growing megacity in the developing world.
Within the Project’s environment (i.e. Karachi) majority if not all of the informal economy is digitally excluded; their services and wares are not discoverable online, therefore invisible to the digitally included. Simply not on the screens of the side where the wealth rests. Without a bridge connecting the two, likelihood of access to wider opportunities for the digitally excluded are greatly reduced. Connecting the two is a win-win, it provides all involved access to wider opportunities it.

Digitally Lead Social Transformation

PTP-GPS-EoC-Map_Dec-2014 Peace Through Prosperity is building that bridge for the 214 micro-entrepreneurs engaged in the project in Karachi and making them, their goods and services discoverable to the digitally included in the city and beyond.
Peace Through Prosperity is narrowing the digital divide further by making selective data on individual micro-entrepreneurs Open for local tech-entrepreneurs to make use of to create a wider market place for the micro-entrepreneurs. For example by building an App that uses the open data to enable the digitally included to locate fruit and vegetable vendors who provide home delivery services, or finding the juice and snack cart with the highest ratings in their locality… the opportunities are endless!
I shall keep y’all posted on progress.

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Agile, cups of tea, business growth and Social Transformation

For the first timers a brief intro to Peace Through Prosperity (BringPTP). This is what BringPTP does:

Digitally Lead Social Transformation If you’d like to learn more about BringPTP you can visit their website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook  and subscribe to their Vimeo channel to keep their pulse.

Now that you know what BringPTP does we can get into business growth and social transformation being delivered using Agile and cups of tea or their lack of.

Whilst deliberating on which change to introduce first and likelihood of its acceptance the BringPTP team proposed a ‘three cups of tea policy to reduce incidental costs for street based micro-entrepreneurs. The policy is ‘I will only buy three cups of tea per day regardless of who consumes them’. The BringPTP team decided to run this as a micro fail experiment over a two week period and to A/B test it with different groups of micro-entrepreneurs in that period. Having collected the data the ‘3 cups of tea per day policy’ got extended across 7 neighborhoods and 210+ participants in the program. The micro-fail experiment paid off.

Participants of the program who embraced the ‘3 cups of tea rule’ have saved PKR 10,000 (US $97) to PKR 12,000  (US $116) over a 3 month period. Some of them have used these savings to expand their micro-enterprises and creating local employment… the footage from the 2nd group workshop focuses on the impact of this experiment, the approach is paying off, Agile has gone boundary less and has proven to be a key component in delivering real, lasting socioeconomic change.


2nd Group Work Shop Combine Hijrat Colony And Sultanabad from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

Mohammad Zeeshan a vegetable seller from Hijrat Colony has expanded his customer base and is soon to launch a home delivery service, Zeeshan talks about marketing and service development! that’s a result! point being from his vocabulary to his worldview, everything has changed, for the better.

Rasool Khan a recent migrant from the North has doubled his daily revenue from PKR 300 (US $2.9) to PKR 700 (US $6.8) and has a powerful message for his peers.

Congratulations to the BringPTP team and a huge thank you to its supporters and ambassadors that include the Agile Community, the Drupal Community  and other pockets of awesome folks who do whatever they can to help BringPTP bring peace through prosperity.

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9others dinner in Karachi with Entrepreneurs of circumstances

9OTHERS-logo Another short trip to Karachi with a full on agenda; a conference to speak at, SCRUM & Kanban trainings to deliver, a Mini-MBA curriculum to review, patrons and board members to catchup with, bureaucracy to on-board, politicians to win over and plenty to catch up on.

All of that aside the most interesting engagement had to be hosting 9other’s second dinner in Karachi, a dinner with a difference. The usual suspects at any 9others’ global dinners are tech heads, startups, lawyers, soon to be movers and shakers of a multitude of sectors, most using technology platforms as the basis of their empires to be… all meeting up with the common goal of gaining the aid of others for their own successes and of course extending their assistance to aid the success of others.

9Others is undeniably an awesome concept and over the years has created a helpful and powerful community, it is about time the power of the network was introduced to entrepreneurs who need it the most; entrepreneurs of circumstances that Peace Through Prosperity (PTP) is engaged with.

Mobilising was a challenge, for our guests were alien to the concept of 9others as well as networking to help grow their businesses, these are individuals who work 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week plying their trade on street pavements as cobblers, hawkers, fruit and vegetable vendors or street barbers. They get little time if any to network with their peers and have little appreciation for peer sourcing solutions to their business challenges.

Having said that Nasir Shah the SCRUM Master and team leader for the PTP field team and Abdul Rasheed the project manager for the Mini-MBA project did a superb job at convincing and gathering 9 entrepreneurs of circumstances for the dinner.

9others dinner in Karachi with Entrepreneurs of Circumstances - Peace Through Prosperity On arrival our guests were amused at the principle of the invitation, it is rare for them to be invited to a restaurant without occasion, more amusing the notion that it will be beneficial for their businesses, most of whom have been struggling with for years if not longer. There was some element of mistrust since unlike the usual 9other dinners as hosts we were picking up the tab, and if anything these folks know there is no such thing as a free dinner.

Nasir who also happens to be a linguist with 5 local languages in his tool kit did well to set the scene and explain that we wanted nothing more than them to attend, try it out and at worst they will be dined at our expense and at best they will gain a peer network.

The trades we had in attendance were,  four fruit vendors, one vegetable vendor, two juice vendors and two street cobblers all from Qayyumabad in Karachi, Pakistan. To begin with our guests were  trepidatious, then shy, Shehzad Khan a 50 year old fruit vendor found the whole thing a little amusing though there was more scepticism there than amusement. The rules were laid down, share your recent successes, your upcoming challenge and lets help each other overcome the challenges and learn from the successes of others. It was a struggle to irk out successes since they saw none worthy of being shared until Anwar a 33 year old street cobbler broke the ice saying he had a bumper day a couple of weeks ago when he managed to earn 400 rupees in a single day (that’s £2.40 / $4) and with that we had a benchmark for success and the rest followed with their own tales of awesome successes they had had over the last week, month and more.

Peace Through Prosperity 9others The challenges part had to be curated, some of our guests assumed since there was free dinner on offer there might also be free capital on offer too, we had to interject and make it clear we were there to help them help each other and there was no capital on offer, we could assist them in obtaining micro-finance loans but only after they had completed the Mini-MBA program and there too proven that they were capable of growing their businesses, cutting down on expenditures, developing new services and increasing their margins. With that done the nature of the challenges being aired changed, though they may seem insignificant to us they are mammoth if we stand in their shoes.

With Katie and Matthew’s blessing Peace Through Prosperity shall be hosting a 9others dinner in Karachi every fortnight across the seven neighborhoods  the Mini-MBA program is being delivered for the six selected street based trades. You can learn more about 9others here, and about Peace Through Prosperity here.

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Towards a better future state – improving the socioeconomic landscape through data informed transformation – part 3

Delivering Agile Peace Building and Transformation Projects Over the last 2 posts I put forward the case for a data informed transformation strategy and then went on to outline tools and techniques used to understand the problem space, stakeholders involved, desirable outcomes, acceptable options, solutionising them, metrics to measure and means of measuring them.

From hereon I will keep my posts short, to detail specific tools and techniques used to enable the Peace Through Prosperity team to frame the ecosystem and solution options using reference frames used in defining, designing and delivering large scale digital transformation programmes.  This approach has allowed the team to design micro-fail experiments, to alter them using real time data edging closer to delivering the desired outcomes. Studying previous analogs and antilogs has ensured we do not waste any resources in replicating or attempting to improve previous programmes that though well meaning have had little to no impact on the ground. The micro-fail experimentation approach has allowed Peace Through Prosperity the luxury of trying out truly innovative approaches.

Diving into in the details, before there could be any thought given to the how to transform the ‘as is’ state was the need to understand the ‘as is’ state better than the incumbents with the same noble aims as Peace Through Prosperity. We started off from a position of strength as a number of us had been individually researching the rise of the political right and extremism since 2005 onwards and between the founding team and our body of advisors there exists a vast body of knowledge collected through extensive personal  field research as well as secondary research available to us. Allowing us to create a map of our problem/operating space.

The consensus was to work from the ground up, understand the triggers and drivers that create the perfect environment for a populous to be radicalised in mass. To gain an insight into the beneficiary’s behaviour an Empathy Map seemed like the perfect tool to deploy, and go beyond to better understand all the drivers and actions across all stakeholders in the eco-system.

For the uninitiated in the use of Empathy maps; in the digital realm I kick off almost every project by interviewing, observing and analysing all the stakeholders involved; from the sponsors to the end users, to better understand their current pain points, desired outcomes, boundaries, motivations and behaviour. Then, as me and my teams work towards our objectives, be it to deliver a transformation strategy, a programme plan or a digital solution we use the Empathy Maps to help drive the user persona, the user experience and the brief to deliver a scalable, fit for purpose deliverable that goes beyond the client expectations in its ability to assist them in achieving their desired outcomes.

Almost 2 years into the journey that is Peace Through Prosperity Empathy Maps have proven to be an invaluable tool in aligning the overall design of the programme with its intended beneficiaries, in our own understanding and development of narratives needed to bridge the differing world views and find common ground to work from.

Empathy Map to understand triggers, motivations, behaviour of marginalised masses vulnerable to non-violent mass radicalisation In this post I am sharing the Empathy map developed for the working poor; the direct beneficiaries we are engaged with, to assist and facilitate them in building a better future state for themselves by themselves via Peace Through Prosperity’s Mini-MBA Programme.

The Empathy Map is based on first hand interviews with over 50+ individuals over a period of 3 months from numerous different conflict affected regions within Pakistan as well as survey data of over 500 individuals, video interviews and facilitated workshops held in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Dera Adam Khel, Haripur, Karachi, Bhit Shah and Hala. Though I shall be sharing Empathy Maps for most of the stakeholders in the ecosystem there will be some I will not be making public any time soon and no doubt you can appreciate why.

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Peace Through Prosperity a year on…

Peace Through Prosperity Almost a year since a few of us set off in hope of bringing peace through prosperity, almost three since fewer still woke up to take tiny steps towards an elusive goal in a sh*t storm of hate, what seemed beyond reach seems further still, the reality of this struggle has set in and strengthened our resolve even more. OooRah.

We have learned a great deal, taught a little and stumbled a lot. Have fought hard for a beach head, dug our first trench and set our sights on the banks and beyond. There are moments where it all comes together, then falls apart only to come back together again.

We have found friends amongst strangers and strangers amongst friends, found cowards amongst giants and brave amongst the meek, been hope, found hope, saw hope; the mojo of audacity; tangible, delivered, promised or illusive… it keeps us going in all its forms. We have come across more than our fair share of asses on all sides in all guises and have built up an apetite to claw past numerous more.

Banded together a team; a year travelled and a ready for a 100 more.

It could have been harder, could have been short lived, could have been many things less than it is if not for you… who have supported us thus far in many ways all awesomely enormous… Thank you.

@BringPTP #Peace #Prosperity #Poverty #PovertyAlleviation #Enterprise #Entrepreneurship #Founders #Hope #Development #WHAM

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