Interview with our students Jacob and Ludvig

Just home from their Field Study to Mozambique!

What do you study?

We study at KTH in Stocholm the Engineering program Industrial Economy, with a master in Computer Science. Our Field Study was conducted as a Bachelor Thesis in the third year of our studies.

Where did you go for your field study and what was your project?

Our Field Study was conducted in the rural village Linga Linga, located at the Eastern coast of Mozambique. In our project we researched if Computer Hubs could be a way to increase the technological inclusion in areas experiencing poverty. A Computer Hub we define as a public space where there are computers with internet connection for public usage. Compared to an internet café the Computer Hub has its main focus on learning with a goal of being a cultural platform to meet.

How has your project continued after your Field Study?

The Computer Hub will firstly be open Sundays for people to borrow the computers. The computers will in a first stage be borrowed for free to create an interest in the village, but eventually when the demand increases one will charge a small fee to be able to improve the Computer Hub with more opening hours, better internet connection and a mentor to teach. The goal is to combine the Computer Hub with the future project of constructing a Cultural Center for public usage. There is potential for further work by students that wish to investigate this further or research how the mobile phone usage in the area affects the need of a computer.

How was it to travel to Mozambique on a Field Study?

It was amazing, very cool! A fun place to conduct your Field Study in and we met a lot of happy people that were very interested in finding out what we were working on. The location was a good place to combine ones Field Study with experiencing beautiful nature allowing for swimming, playing soccer with other youths in the village, but also explore the area. Our experience were that when we stayed at Tor Linga Linga in the village Linga Linga was that we got to know the locals and live in accordance with their culture.

What was it like going on a Field Study with Project Vita as your local contact?

It has been good since we got to experience more than just researching for our project. One example is that we followed when they spread information about Covid-19 in the different villages of the district. We have also taken part in other development projects they were conducting in the area, which was a fun way of getting to work and know the people and their culture. Our local contact provided us with support as well when it came to our project by helping us find contacts and interpretation, which was very important since most people spoke Portuguese. 

Which pros and cons are there with choosing to do a Field Study for your thesis?

One disadvantage for us was that we had a course at home that went parallell with our Field Study, which ended up with us having to do the test online from Mozambique. Also, sometimes the internet connection was unreliable, which was a challenge for us that was highly dependent on it for our study. We believe these factors can make Field Studies be a bit more time consuming and requiring a clearly defined time plan. On the other hand, we believe it is more developing and fun to do your thesis on a Field Study because of the people, culture and environment you get to explore. Also, you get to contribute in the development on a location experiencing poverty. This has given us personal development and we believe it is also a benefit when applying for future jobs since it is international experience and something that stands out.

Which is the most special memory from your Field Study?

One was when we played soccer together on the beach and suddenly a group of 15 kids came that wanted to play with us. That was really fun! Another memory was when Isabela, one of the test participants for usage of computers, opened the computer for the first time. She expressed such a joy and excitement to test a computer. Why these turned out to be our strongest memories was probably because they were closely connected to our study or how we got to know other youths in the village.

Has your Field Study affected your view on development work and your role as future engineers? 

Yes, it really has. Before you would not have seen yourself working with development work in the future, but now we have gotten to test how rewarding it is to help out. We have seen that there is a high need for engineers and that there are many quite simple technical solutions that could be adapted to societies needs. One example is how the internet could be improved quite easily because it seems to be more of an issue with the software than the telephone poles position. 

Do you have any advice for future students travelling to Linga Linga?

Bring a lot of cables, just because they are hard to get there they somehow always get lost or broken. Also, have a detailed time plan that expresses what activities you want to conduct weekly, we which we had made a better one. It can also be good to learn some Portuguese before going to Mozambique. We did not learn any, but managed anyway. Still, if we had learn some it would have eased our everyday life there and our studies. Also, we want to add that one should not worry too much because everything will work out itself, you do not need everything figured out beforehand.

How has the Field Study affected you?

One appreciate food more now, because we were not so creative in the food we cooked during our three months. We have also gotten a different perspective to development work, now both of us can se it as a potential future job opportunity. It was not even an option before, but there is so much potential for sustainable entrepreneurship to be established in developing countries! 

Would you recommend others to travel on a Field study? 

Yes, absolutely! It has been much more rewarding and fun than if we had chosen to stay at home for our thesis. Both of us have felt that we have gotten to do a project with a higher purpose and that it will also be meritorious for our future employment. Selling enough, we can recommend others to chose Project Vita as their local contact. If anyone wants to ask more about our project or going on a Field Study they are free to contact us through Project Vita webpage, Instagram or Facebook. One can also see Project Vita’s Instagram where a lot of our Field Study is documented!