Kasadaka is a rapid prototyping platform aimed to meet the information needs of subsistence farmers in rural development areas. The box is built on a Raspberry Pi computer and uses open source Linux based software, to make it as affordable as possible.
Our interdisciplinary team consists of several researchers from the Computer Science and Social Science department at the VU University in Amsterdam. The Kasadaka project builds on information acquired by the Web Alliance for Regreening in Africa (W4RA). They organize workshops in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Niger, focusing on the development of ICT services that support regreening activities in rural, often remote areas in the Sahel.
Most of the subsistence farmers in development countries cannot read or write and do not use the internet, which is why W4RA integrates voice-based mobile web services and the radio. The aim is to create ICTs that support people in communicating and sharing knowledge and information, regardless of their gender, origin, financial situation or age.
In March and May 2015 we conducted two field trips in Northern Ghana, in which we interviewed and observed the local population. The subsistence farmers explained us that their living conditions are changing due to climate change, lack of education and a knowledge gap between farmers and experts.
Through the interviews we acquired the information needs that will hopefully provide them with the necessary knowledge that is required in order to improve these conditions. Kasadaka contains the technical requirements that are context specific; such as voice-based, affordability and offline.
The information needs that were acquired during the field trips include information on market prices, the weather forecast, farming techniques (soil and cropping techniques), micro credits and health of livestock. The Kasadaka is currently a prototype that should be further developed with the help of feedback by the local population.
The hardware consists of a Raspberry Pi computer and a GSM dongle, charged through solar energy. The software is built on Raspbian (a Raspberry Pi version of Debian) and Asterisk is used in order to give the box telephonic functionalities.
This website gives an understanding of how the Kasadaka was built and the "hardware" and "software" that was used in order to do so. To enable you to get started on building your own Kasadaka or to contribute to the existing project, the "get started" page includes a step by step plan on how to do so.