1.1 Two action research case studies

I have been actively involved in two projects. The first was an action research project conducted in the region of Tigray in Ethiopia. In the second project I participated as a developer in a FLOSS project. Both of this cases was conducted within the HISP network.

HISP is an international research and development network centered around health information. HISP have a vision to promote the effective use of information in the health systems of developing countries. Most of the people in this network are academics, health workers, and some ICT professionals. HISP are active in a number of counties in Africa and Asia, and in Norway where I am from.

In Ethiopia several regions had expressed interest in testing the health statistics software offered by HISP. The software, District Health Information Software (DHIS), is created to gather routine data from health systems. DHIS is designed to make it possible to customise it to the local context of various health systems, and it is licensed with a FLOSS license. Tigray was one of the regions to express interest in testing DHIS. In Tigray I was part of a team using action research to configure DHIS into the local context of Tigray. This was done within a social informatics perspective which consider both the social and the technical aspects of an IS.

After I had finished the Tigray case, I started on the second case study. A project had recently been initiated, with the mandate to develop a new version of the DHIS software called DHIS 2. DHIS 2 is a total reimplementation of the DHIS software. The development of DHIS 2 is done using distributed voluntary development, which is common for many large scale FLOSS projects. In this case I participated as a FLOSS developer, and I was working on a plug-in framework for DHIS 2.