Stephen Lewis Foundation - the Grassroots Exchange

Grassroots Exchange is a Stephen Lewis Foundation initiative providing a central hub for community-based organisations fighting HIV/AIDS across Africa to share information, experiences, lessons learned, and effective practices.

Bringing together over 200 network members, this intranet website was thought up by the Stephen Lewis Foundation as a means to encourage dialog between, and knowledge sharing between, organizations working to turn the tide on Aids across the African continent.

This was an interesting project as we had to take slow, and generally unreliable, internet connections into account - coupled with an understanding that members may use the website through archaic/redundant browsers.  We had to make content available quickly once members had logged-in and use a scaled-down interface to direct action in a way that made it easy to use for members who may not be very familiar with using the World Wide Web, let alone a computer.

Developed in Drupal, this project acts as a private intranet with member profiles, messaging and various content types for organizations to post and share between themselves.  We created virtual groups based on program areas the organizations worked within - whereby content could be dynamically listed just for that specific topic, irrespective of the type (e.g. 'practice' or 'resource').  Depending on user preference, members can receive email notifications about posts on the site which have been flagged to the group they are a member of, so as to encourage site login and participation.  We also made all content download-able via a print-version, so that organizations using borrowed internet connections could print off posts they are interested in and share them with co-workers and colleagues when they returned to their city/village/etc...

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