I have been working with a partnership of NGOs, alongside Code Innovation,
to build an app that helps the facilitators of Self Help Groups, or Savings
Groups. The app provides content and functionality each week for
facilitators of these groups, to help deepen and strengthen their
facilitation. And of course allows us to provide them with lots of
interesting resources along the way. Its important to highlight that the
app, sitting on a smartphone or tablet, is not intended to be used actively
with the group members. Rather, each week, the facilitator can use the app
to prepare for that week’s meeting, and then when she sits down with the
group of 15-20 women in her SHG, she can use the app as a prompt and
reminder for any meeting activities. So while the technology is present in
the group meeting, the meeting’s activities are not designed around
actively using the technology.
We have a grant from the Gates Foundation and we are scaling rapidly. One
of the aspects of the app that we want to continue to monitor carefully is
the impact of technology on group dynamics. Does having the
smartphone/tablet in the group have any positive or negative impacts on
group dynamics? Does it cause any imbalances or conflict?
There is a fair bit of research around using computers for example to
improve educational outcomes etc. But we have not seen anything around the
more social aspect of using tech, particularly in a group setting. Does
anyone have any experience with this or thoughts on research for other
projects that might be helpful?
Many thanks, Courtenay