The crisis of development in Africa elicits a great deal of passion from Africans when they discuss the topic. People are prone to tell you about the lack of public infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water, etc. This was my experience as I set out to interview some Nigerians on the development schemes/projects that exist within their locale. My interviewees showed great interest in this topic and were quick to point out the progress and failure that has been made by government in this arena. When I set out to interview them, my interest was to see what ways that I could crowdsource data that might be relevant to policy makers or scholars who are interested in studying the problems of development in Nigeria.
My interviewees told me how some of the projects such as road construction, rural water supply and even an international airport has positively impacted the lives of the people. When I asked them whether it is possible that some of these projects may have a negative impact, they were not able to identify any such impacts. In doing development, we know that there are often some negative impacts. Perhaps a new road construction that ends up affecting the ecosystem, a dam that displaces many people, etc. What I discovered is that my interviewees sources of information were the websites set up by the governments or institutions to tout their projects. I was curious if the people directly affected might have a different perspective on the projects. Their response was that they have not been offered such a platform. I then asked if an online platform for crowdsourcing such information may be something people of their age may be interested in participating? They responded in the affirmative. I asked about some ways in which they might easily make contributions to the platform. What I gathered was that people may be asked to post photographs of the projects, record short video clips or just comment on what has already been posted.
These interviews have made me rethink my project. Rather than accumulate plenty of numerical data on development schemes/ projects as I had originally intended, I will want to focus on people submitting photos of development schemes/projects and also encouraging people to tag and comment on them. I will also create an app and a mobile friendly website to support this project.