PULSE LAB DIARIES

What it means to be a Language Analyst with Pulse Lab Kampala

Jonathan Mukiibi and Annette Akimanzi
Dec 20, 2017

An interview with Jonathan Mukiibi, Language Analyst at Pulse Lab Kampala and his work with the Radio Content Analysis tool.

1.    What is your education background and job title?

My education background is engineering, specifically I have a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering from Makerere University (Uganda). My job title at the Pulse Lab is Language Analyst focusing on Luganda language analysis even though I see myself as a multi-lingual analyst because I can also analyze other languages like English.

2.    What is your work like?

My work is simple. However, it requires a lot of skill to it. You essentially have to be very observant and have good listening skills. My work involves analyzing radio files that are streamed from public radio discussions on topics that have been assigned to me. The topics vary with the different projects, for example topics could be based on the SDGs or effectiveness of service delivery and so on. As an example, I am working on a project on ‘real-time analysis of radio content on health service delivery’. Through radio analysis I get to understand the gaps in different health service delivery programmes, people's response to these gaps and sometimes their satisfaction towards services like antenatal care, immunization and the like. Further analysis can always be done on the translations to give an in-depth understanding to whoever needs specific information.

Furthermore, my job requires a deep understanding of radio; an understanding of what can give us the best results with the Radio Content Analysis tool, being able to identify faults in the system and also listening to the content and making a report on what is being discussed. So you really have to be very observant. I also specifically share a lot of feedback on what is happening in the community to my team based on what I have heard on radio. I have to follow-up on what’s being said from other sources of news like TV and newspapers and compare with radio and see if it has already been addressed on radio.  If it has not been addressed, I will look out for this content in my radio listening sessions to measure the effectiveness of radio against other sources of communication in the community.

3.    What do you like about your job?

What I am working on is not what I started with when I joined the Lab. I have been with the Lab since the radio content analysis tool project inception in July 2015 and would say I’ve grown into this role. I started off with transcription of audio files that were needed to train the radio content analysis tool and that made me curious how the tool will be developed and implemented. I was given an opportunity to continue with the project and am now able to see the tool working and that in itself makes me proud that our hard work on the project has paid off.

The other thing is that the work that we do helps influence policy and decisions. I know that if we do a great job with this tool, our partners will want to work more with the Lab which makes me work harder because the radio tool can basically improve people's lives in so many ways.

Also, the radio team I work with is a great team. We all work together to meet our goals. Even though some of my colleagues are senior to me, it doesn’t feel that way. We all work as one and value each other's opinion. Many times I will be consulted on some issues and my opinion will help influence the decisions on for example how the tool is used for analysis.

4.    What do you like about Pulse Lab Kampala?

Pulse Lab Kampala is really different from other places because we all do different things but we all work together to achieve our goals. The Lab has an open door policy and so you can walk up to any member of the team with a question or enquiry and know you will receive help. Also, our manager always encourages us to talk to one another. The other thing is that the lab has people from different backgrounds and nationalities who value each others’ beliefs.

5.    What do you like to do outside work?

I like watching football…Manchester United is my team. Besides that, I am a youth leader in my church. I help the youth in my community in different ways and that gives me so much joy. I also sometimes help kids in my neighbourhood with their homework in math, English, social studies and science - although not as often as I used to due to my busy work schedule.

Thank you for your insights, Jonathan.

Thank you.