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Using Cutting-edge Mobile Technology to Monitor Programs
“As a supervisor, using iFormBuilder for data collection was an exciting experience. It reduced the workload of checking the questionnaires’ accuracy as I could check the data in database right after syncing it—while our enumerators were still in the field. There were no cases of call backs (returning to households surveys) either! “- Henry Chungu, M&E Officer from Malawi
Recently, The Hunger Project has made strides to digitize the information it collects from the countries where we work using iFormBuilder. iFormBuilder is a “universal, cloud based mobile data collection platform helping customers around the globe collect data on their mobile devices.” Updating our Monitoring & Evaluation program’s paper-based system has made collecting data more accurate, more time-sensitive, easier to access, and faster to use.
Since 2008, THP Program Countries have systematically monitored programmatic inputs (budgetary expenses, materials, etc.), activities (workshops, trainings, etc.), and outputs (# people trained, # trees planted). The Hunger Project worked strategically to further refine their M&E system, defining the causal pathways that lead to the changes (outcomes) expected to see at the household and community levels as a result of the programs. In 2012, THP’s M&E system was updated from paper-based collection to iFormBuilder. Relying on key data points from activity tracking and studies, utilizes a mixed-method approach to assess our impact at the community level.
Recognizing the tremendous inefficiencies in a paper-based data system, THP piloted the use of iFormBuilder with iPods in two countries: Ghana and Malawi. Based on the success of this implementation, three other countries successfully conducted iFormBuilder-based surveys in 2013 (Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda). In total, nearly 1,500 households were surveyed, representing over 220 villages and 144,000 individuals across five countries. The surveys were managed locally by THP’s six M&E Officers, conducted by 50 enumerators (who conducted interviews in local language), and supported by countless volunteers and community members living in villages where THP works. In 2014, THP plans to perform additional evaluations in Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda, as well as scale out iFormBuilder use to Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Mexico and Mozambique.