Do you sometimes wish you had a better understanding of context in order to respond in a relevant and proportionate manner to your NGO’s needs? Do you find it hard to decide which areas and which beneficiaries need your help the most, or to ensure that your help is effective in the long run? You are aware that there are loads of new tools out there you could use to collect data, but do you know which ones to use and how?
As the first step in any assessment, data collection is crucial to ensure quality data for adequate decision-making. Mobile data collection (MDC) uses smartphones to collect primary data about beneficiary needs, population movement, infrastructure location and assessment. Compared to the traditional paper-based survey approach, a properly designed mobile solution can help you save time, standardize responses, collect diversified information and produce ready-to-share and ready-to-analyse data. In technical terms, setting up a mobile data collection system is getting easier by the day, with great tools available for a growing number of needs. However, surveys, standard operating procedures and logistics can still present a challenge for organizations that have just embarked on MDC.
Learn more about how CartONG can help you with your Mobile Data Collection projects:
CartONG, through the request of Max Havelaar France, is supporting FairTrade Africa in their implementation of Mobile Data Collection for the follow up of their cocoa cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire. The project started by a small assessment of the situation and comparison of tools that could best cater to these needs, followed by a preparation of the digitization of the process through mobile data collection that was then tested, piloted and improved accordingly with the FairTrade teams in Cote d’Ivoire in preparation for a full deployment. The whole approach was seen very positively by the teams, who have already started sharing the work with other countries and also using MDC for other projects.
CartONG developed a large part of the mobile and analysis components of FACET, a facility monitoring tool for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in schools (WINS) and in health facilities (WIH).
The tools are based on Kobo/ODK for mobile data collection and on a Power BI dashboard for online visualisation of indicators and an Excel offline dashboard for more advanced analysis.
The WASH in Health Facility Evaluation Tool (FACET), jointly developed by Terre des hommes, Eawag and CartONG with support from the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), is based on globally recognised indicators and is suitable across the continuum of humanitarian and development interventions.
In 2018, CartONG helped build the new version of the FACET mobile data collection and analysis tools, based on a review of the needs and also an update of the key JMP indicators on which the tools are based.
In 2019, the work on the new version of FACET for both schools and health facilities continued, with the realigning of the mobile and analysis tools with updates to the current dashboards and the development of new dashboards. This was done for Terre des hommes in direct partnership with EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.
En 2019, CartONG collaborated with ENSG on the production of a Massive Online Open Course on Geomatics & the Humanitarian World, which led to the release of three different videos:
Written by CartONG, this paper reflects on five years of experience gained by Terre des hommes implementing MDC projects in its countries of operation worldwide. Its principle aim is to help field operations make the best use of MDC in their programs by summarizing the key lessons learned throughout these 5 years of MDC roll-out. It builds both on the institutional knowledge acquired over the years as well as on the experiences shared by three delegations (Iraq, Mali and Nepal) - deliberately different in terms of size, volume of operations, and types of interventions. This Lessons Learned paper also summarizes the path taken by the organization to scale up MDC over the years and the uses to which MDC is put, both by Tdh and by the wider humanitarian community. Lastly, it also details both Tdh and CartONG’s vision for MDC in the coming years.
In 2018, a one-day awareness raising session was organized for AFD's Evaluation and Capitalisation division and Crisis and Conflict division on Mobile Data Collection. The session covered both an overview of the tools available and examples of the different types of use cases, but also a presentation of all the stakes that mobile data collection can represent in the development sector.
In 2018, CartONG conducted two challenging Information Management (IM) needs assessment missions, during which we evaluated the IM policies, processes, practices and tools implemented by the Solidarités International’s teams in response to the refugee crisis in Bangladesh as well as the Syrian crisis.
For these rapid assessments of information management needs, CartONG interviewed the key players to evaluate their expectations, fears and difficulties, and reviewed the existing documentation and processes in place for the IM tools used by the local Solidarités’ teams as well as the available IM products. As part of these missions, we also facilitated workshops and conducted a review of the key existing project documents to identify the IM needs per activity and the potential constraints related to donor requirements. The deliverables of these two needs assessments missions were a report and a list of recommendations and suggested priorities. The support provided by CartONG in the Middle East had the particularity of taking place following the launch of a new consortium (therefore still in its infancy), and was thus mostly focused on strategic aspects; whereas the mission in Bangladesh was an opportunity to identify the capacity-building needs of the local IM team which then led to a two-week training mission on various topics such as MDC, mapping and data protection.
CartONG provided various Information Management support to Action Contre la Faim France in 2018. Our main support was dedicated to their Afghanistan mission where we deployed an expert for 3 weeks in October. The mission aimed at providing Information Management support to the team based in Kabul regarding digitization of some nutrition processes, data visualization with Business Intelligence tools, training sessions on various tools (Excel, Kobo, Sphinx and Power BI) and support on their data protection practices. Check out an example of the tools developed during the mission: a complaints and feedback mechanism dashboard built on Power BI.
In 2018, we also provided remote support to ACF France on Mobile data collection for their Nepal field operation, as well as gave a day of introduction to Geographical Information Systems during one of their regional training workshops in Dakar.
In June 2016, following a second bidding process, CartONG was one of the organizations (including iMMAP and MapAction) to be retained by the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, setting the framework to be deployed in the WCARO region to support UNICEF country operations in Information Management and Mapping.
CartONG - building on the work done for Tdh on the evaluation of case management for child protection tools - helped Handicap International over a few days in 2017 by giving them an overview of the MDC solutions that could correspond to their needs for case management and helping them think through their strategy on the subject.
Following that work, CartONG conducted in 2018 a benchmarking of two case management tools to help Handicap International's HQ team in their comparison of SurveyCTO and Survey123 for different case management needs.
iRHIS (integrated Refugee Health Information System) is an open source tablet and web platform that was developed by GNUCOOP to allow health workers to electronically register and track the health status of refugees in camps, as well as guide UNHCR public health and implementing partners to rapidly detect public health problems and epidemics.
In 2018, CartONG developed two comprehensive training guides tailored to the different diverse health staff profiles comprising of data collectors and supervisors. Three in-country training were conducted on the use of the iRHIS platform for patients individual consultation data collection, online data synchronization to generate reports and the use of the automatic analysis dashboards.
In 2019, CartONG provided one in-country rollout training and a follow-up advanced training on the use of the iRHIS platform in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville respectively. In November and early December, our staff traveled to six different locations and trained 62 health staff in how to use the system and to record the information. Additionally, our staff also conducted a follow-up on last year’s mission there, helped to update devices, offered tips and tricks and explained all the new functions. Learn more here or by reading our 2019 Annual Report.