2014 - pres

RootIO Sound System


RootIO is a civic media platform and research project that was developed in the context of rural farming communities in Uganda. The project draws on earlier work in Civic Media focused around the design of public goods and information services for communities rather than individuals.

I first conceived the idea for RootIO after the earthquake in Haiti, when FM radio proved the most reliable and widespread means of communication after power and phone networks were rendered largely useless. Together with Jude Mukundane, I developed the first prototypes, based on research in relatively low literacy, low income rural areas with little access to ICTs. Unlike many “development” projects, RootIO focuses on local peer production rather than top-down “behavior change” messaging. While RootIO’s roots lie in the Caribbean and Africa, the platform is appropriate for any community. It is currently being deployed in Ireland, in two communities in Romania, and in three in Portugal, in addition to ten in Uganda and four in Cabo Verde.

Selected Papers:

  1. Chris Csíkszentmihályi and Jude Mukundane. 2015. RootIO - Platform Design for Civic Media. In Proceedings of the Research Through Design Conference. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1328001.v1

  2. C. Csíkszentmihályi and J. Mukundane. 2016. RootIO: ICT + telephony for grassroots radio. In 2016 IST-Africa Week Conference, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISTAFRICA.2016.7530700

  3. Jude Mukundane and Chris Csíkszentmihályi. 2016. Shrinking towards the people: tailoring electronic communication media solutions to  community needs. In Proceedings of the 5th International  Conference on M4D Mobile  Communication Technology for Development.


Selected Media Coverage:

  1. Luke Yoquinto. 2015. New Ugandan radio stations run on sun, smartphones and buckets. New Scientist 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015 from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630232.100-new-ugandan-radio-stations-run-on-sun-smartphones-and-buckets.html

  2. Daniel Mwesigwa. An entire Radio Station on Phone: The inspiring story behind RootIO community Radio in Uganda. Dignited. Retrieved June 23, 2015 from http://www.dignited.com/14107/an-entire-radio-station-on-phone-the-inspiring-story-behind-rootio-community-radio-in-uganda/

  3. Tshepo Tshabalala. 2017. How RootIO is broadcasting radio shows using a bucket in Uganda. Medium. Retrieved July 25, 2018 from https://medium.com/jamlab/how-rootio-is-broadcasting-radio-shows-using-a-bucket-in-uganda-f33a2b5adb82

  4. 2017. M-ITI apresenta exposição de arte sobre o futuro da tecnologia em África e na Europa. Funchal Notícias. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from https://funchalnoticias.net/2017/09/01/m-iti-apresenta-exposicao-de-arte-sobre-o-futuro-da-tecnologia-em-africa-e-na-europa/

  5. How RootIO is broadcasting radio shows using a bucket in Uganda | JAMLAB. Retrieved July 30, 2018 from http://jamlab.africa/how-rootio-is-broadcasting-radio-shows-using-a-bucket-in-uganda/

  6. RootIO: the COMMUNITY RADIO in A BUCKET. Retrieved January 6, 2016 from http://www.monitor.co.ug/Business/Technology/RootI0-radio-bucket-technology/-/688612/2619664/-/ljlvjt/-/index.html

  7. Meet RootIO: A community radio innovation that uses a cellphone to broadcast. PC Tech Magazine - Technology News, Analysis, Software and Product Reviews from Africa’s largest ICT Magazine. Retrieved May 28, 2015 from http://pctechmag.com/2015/05/meet-rootio-a-community-radio-innovation-that-uses-a-cellphone-to-broadcast/

  8. What mobile money did to USSD, RootIO will do to radio | InnovationAfrica. Retrieved December 15, 2014 from http://www.innovationafrica.org/2013/10/what-mobile-money-did-to-ussd-rootio-will-do-to-radio/

  9. LA Smartphone Radio Project Among Knight Foundation Mobile News Challenge Winners - FishbowlLA. Retrieved January 21, 2013 from http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlla/knight-foundation-mobile-news-challenge-rootio-chris-csikszentmihalyi-jude-mukundane_b79859

  10. RootIO wants to take radio back to the local level in Uganda. Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved January 21, 2013 from http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/01/rootio-wants-to-take-radio-back-to-the-local-level-in-uganda/

  11. Community Radio Launch on Bere Island. West Cork Islands. Retrieved August 11, 2019 from https://westcorkislands.com/event/community-radio-launch-on-bere-island/

  12. The Southern Star - Bere Island’s new radio station gets community on the right wavelength. The Southern Star. Retrieved August 11, 2019 from http://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2019/04/12/4172273-bere-islands-new-radio-station-gets-community-on-the-right-wavelength/