Water is scarce, costly, and contaminated in Kibera, Nairobi -- one of Africa's largest urban slums. On good days, the women and children spend just under an hour finding clean water in their community. On bad days, the price of water increases tenfold and the search takes all day. Often, people ask jokingly whether it is water or cholera they are buying.
Many slums like Kibera lack access to clean drinking water, but they don't lack access to mobile phones. This is the insight behind M-Maji, a start-up non-profit project that uses mobile phones to empower communities with better information about water availability, price, and quality. This seminar will introduce the M-Maji system, and describe some of the challenges to designing for such a complex social environment.Background: M-Maji emerged from the Designing Liberation Technologies course in the Stanford d.school, which focused on using mobile phone technology for health improvement in Kibera. M-Maji has since received funding to run a pilot from the Program on Liberation Technologies and the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford
Sunny Jeon is the principal investigator to M-Maji research, and is currently making frequent trips to Kenya to prepare for a randomized impact evaluation of their water program. He is also a Ph.D. Candidate in the Stanford Department of Political Science, where he is working on a dissertation project that studies the economic and political returns to ethnic diversity.
Katherine Hoffman is a co-terminal student completing a B.A. in International Relations and Economics and an M.A. in International Policy Studies with a focus on Global Health. She has been involved with M-Maji since it began in Spring quarter, and has just returned from a trip to Kenya in December to begin laying the groundwork for the project implementation.
Her primary interests include economic development and health improvement in low-resource settings. Past experience includes internships at the Bonn International Center for Conversion in Bonn, Germany and at the Institute for Financial Management in Chennai, India; she has also volunteered at the Center for the Working Girl in Quito, Ecuador and studied abroad for a quarter in Moscow.