In January 2021, World Vision introduced Virtual Reality (VR) technology in some of its areas of operation. This was at a time when the country, just like many parts of the world was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Community gatherings were restricted as a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This was in itself a challenge to the over 50,000 poor household heads who were already undergoing various mindset change trainings through World Vision’s Empowered Worldview (EWV) model. World Vision then purchased 700 VR PICO headset and produced digital content that trainees could play with the headset and self-train without a physical meeting with the trainers.
The VR headsets are very attractive and they capture the full attention of participants as they do not see anything around them or hear any other distractions apart from what is being played.
According to Aimable Nsengiyumva, the Resilience and Livelihoods Technical Programmes Manager, “VR technology came as a solution for the beneficiaries to continue accessing training during the COVID-19 period, but also keeps being used as a new mode of training.”
Participants hear the message from the trainer, watch skits and relevant illustrations and during the lockdown, trainees continued with the trainings since they had the training devices at their disposal.
Nsengiyumva adds that, “This also helps trainees see how other farmer groups apply some farming techniques without going for physical visits. This helps to cut costs since there is no expense incurred such as rent of training venue, transport fees for participants, and the facilitation fees for a trainer among others. With virtual reality, training can happen anytime and anywhere.”
The digital content is standardised and it can be used to train thousands of participants for years, until it is updated at the same cost and also participants can suggest improvements on the content to align it with their needs.
Through use of VR technology, World vision has been able to reach about 60,000 beneficiaries up to date.
By Jacqueline Natukunda - Communications Officer