Social Enterprise Platforms
Empowering New Generations of Farmers through Data Literacy
Koeerü’s social enterprise platforms utilize the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s SHEP methodology to connect farmers, wholesale and retail buyers, and social workers in ways that promote development through self-motivation and empowerment.
From Digital to Digital Transformation
A Data Platform Meaningful to Those New to Technology
Data platforms are often tools created for and by the data literate—those who use computers and smartphones daily in their lives. At Koeerü, we asked ourselves how we could use our data platform expertise in a way that is genuinely helpful to those furthest from Silicon Valley.
As a result of extensive testing and interviews with farmers, buyers, and social workers in Tanzania, we created a platform that utilizes SHEP methodology to promote market-oriented agriculture. This platform allows farmers to collect and share data about marketplace needs and grow crops that have a ready demand.
Making Data Collection not only Possible, but Meaningful
When technology companies work in developing countries, they often focus on the technical challenges—minimal infrastructure, no or 2G Internet, low-budgets, poor performance devices, and, oftentimes, an illiterate population. While these challenges are real, we wanted to go beyond transplanting developed country solutions to developing country farmers. Our first step was to talk to farmers to determine what their challenges were, and what technology would be meaningful for them.
“You cannot just say, this is an application for collecting agriculture data. Go and use it.”
--Soji Nagano, Koeerü Chief Design Officer
Many existing data collection efforts use money as the principal motivator. However, this kind of external motivation is unsuitable in the long term and collapses as soon as external funding is removed. In contrast, Koeerü approaches our social enterprise projects with the goal of sustainable self-use in mind, a platform based on internalized self-motivation factors like autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
Involving All in the Design Process
Our first step in the design process is talking to all kinds of people, from illiterate farmers and marketplace buyers to government employees and social workers. We use these interviews, conducted throughout the development process, to ensure that the design of our platforms has all stakeholders in mind.
An Intuitive, Accessible Design
Koeerü understands that not every user will have access to a computer or smartphone. Not every user will be able to read or write. Our technology is designed to work offline, on low data networks, and is designed to be as intuitive and accessible to as many people as possible.
Rewards that Motivate and Matter
Different users have different reasons for participating, and a one-size-fits-all monetary reward sometimes isn’t enough. Koeerü's systems use self motivation theory to motivate users to participate and share data without the use of money, creating sustainable systems that can operate without external inputs.
Better Data Management for Accurate Real-Time Insights
After data is collected, how do you manage and use it? Is the data collected still accurate, really reflecting the situation on the ground? Who has access to the data, and how is it used?
Increased Buy-In for Better Insights
To date, agriculture-related data in developing countries has often been collected by field officers by hand. Whether paper-based or digital, this data’s quality is often negatively affected by many factors, including human error, time lag, and a lack of depth.
By involving regular farmers and buyers in the collection and use of the data, Koeerü is not only able to vastly increase the amount of data collected, but also speed up the data collection time. Depth is achieved through widespread adoption, and real-time insights into who is growing what becomes possible.
Reliable, Timely, and High-Quality Data
Wholesale marketplace pricing data is usually collected by market research companies, who have limitations in terms of coverage, pricing, and time lag. In contrast, within Koeerü's system, farmers and buyers are collecting the data themselves. Because they are directly involved in the business, they have more coverage and the data they collect is timely. Furthermore, because the data is verified and collected by many people, the data depth is better.
Instant Access to Insights and Trends
Another problem with traditional field research methods is the time-lag caused when marketplace prices are collected by social workers interviewing farmers or vendors. This time lag makes it difficult to see trends or changes over time. In contrast, Koeerü's digital collection methods remove both time lag and transcription errors and are available instantaneously for quick access to trends and insights.
Admin Tools for Governments and Social Enterprises
While social media platforms have their place, they are often unreliable sources for official data and trends. In contrast, Koeerü’s online platforms can be monitored and controlled for quality through an administrative back-end system managed by either local governments or social enterprise organizations, ensuring that there is no illicit manipulation of the system.
How Does Koeerü’s Social Enterprise Platform Improve Development?
Creating a platform that solves problems is not only an issue of collection or data management. The problems that farmers and marketplace buyers currently face often relate to an inability to turn the data into action.
Koeerü’s social enterprise platforms begin by understanding the market needs of both farmers and buyers
Being able to meet the right business partner at the right time, in the right place, and with the right price will directly benefit users and can contribute to an increase of income levels—the results of which have been proven by JICA-backed studies in over 53 countries utilizing the SHEP methodology.
Better Data for Farmers
Farmers in developing countries often use their instincts or a buyer's subjective opinion to decide what to grow. With Koeerü's platform, farmers are directly involved in the collection of data, making them more responsive to market trends and needs. This direct involvement in data collection gives them the knowledge necessary to grow directly for market.
Better Results for Marketplace Buyers
Marketplace buyers also want farmers to be more data literate so that they can have more constructive conversations in price negotiations. If farmers don't know market prices, they might be more difficult in negotiations, because they are negotiating from a position of ignorance. Similarly, knowing what farmers are growing where speeds up the buying time and make their jobs more efficient.
Automated Matching Services
To better help farmers and buyers find each other, Koeerü provides an automated matching service. Farmers can know who exactly is in the market for their produce at what prices, and buyers can be directly connected with farmers when they have a specific need arise.
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