Our first pilot project for Mobenzi ended on December 4th 2009 and on the final afternoon we assigned a survey to the participants’ phones to find out information about them as well as their thoughts on the pilot.
Although we had 25 participants in the pilot, 2 members of the team were not present on the Friday afternoon. The following statistics are therefore based on the remaining 23 team members who completed the self-administered survey using the Nokia 3120 mobile phones we provided for the pilot.
Age, Gender and Language
The 25 pilot participants were all from the local community of Kwanyuswa. The average age of the team members was 24 and there was an even gender split. Each of the participants had completed grade 12 and could speak fairly good English. Their first language is isiZulu but each of them studied English as a second language.
17 of the participants (70%) had never had a full time job at the time of running the pilot. A few participants had part time jobs but were able to make the 5 hour sessions each morning.
The 17 participants that were willing to answer questions about their households have on average 7 people living permanently at home. 16 homes had stoves (94%), 14 had running water (82%), 14 had a television (82%), only 10 owned a fridge (60%) and none of the households owned a motor vehicle.
Mobile phone usage
19 of the 23 participants (82%) owned their own mobile phone (53% Nokia, 21% Samsung, 16% LG). Most participants (60%) had used MXIT (a mobile instant messaging client) in the month preceding the pilot. 9 team members (40%) had used their phones within the last month to browse the web and download pictures, music or games. The average airtime expenditure per person over the preceding 3 months was R100 per month.
Demand for mobile tasks
If employed full time in another position, the participants expressed on average that they would probably like to do Mobenzi tasks for about 3.5 hours per weekday to subsidise other income. If working only part time in another position, the desired commitment increased to 5.5 hours. Over weekends the average expected commitment was 10 hours (Including Saturday and Sunday). This works out at between 27 and 37 hours per week. 5.5 hours of concentrated work is probably the ceiling for how much time someone could spend doing Mobenzi tasks in a single day.
Everyone agreed that most Mobenzi tasks would be completed at their homes, but most participants also mentioned they would probably complete tasks while on public transport (buses and taxis) and while walking around the local community.
Thoughts on Mobenzi
The major reason the participants noted for what they liked about Mobenzi was that the work was interesting and entertaining. Only one person answered that the work was boring. The biggest challenge the team raised was that some classification tasks were ambiguous and deciding on the most appropriate answer was sometimes very difficult.
Fatigue was a problem for some participants who mentioned that their hands started hurting by the end of the day or they battled to concentrate for so long (We ran the pilot for about 5 hours each day with short breaks every hour and a longer break for lunch).
The participants were generally very excited about Mobenzi. Some of their comments are included in a related article: Feedback from pilot participants about mobile tasks