10 June 2014

Data collection, the easy way! 2-6 June 2014 in Port Vila, Vanuatu

On the way to Nguna, Vanuatu. © UNICEF Pacific/
Everyone who has ever conducted an interview using paper and pen in the field quickly encounters the same problems: backpacks heavy with paper, ink running in the rain, surveys blowing away in the wind, and decoding illegible handwriting. And then there are the hours of typing from paper to computer with the ever present problem of data entry errors.

To make the process of data collection and analysis more efficient and effective, the Vanuatu Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources (DGMWR) held a training last week to introduce their staff to mobile data collection with smartphones and a software package called Akvo FLOW. From now on, DGMWR will use smartphones to collect data for their national water resources inventory.

For the training in Port Vila, around 25 staff from different organisations came from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands in order to learn more about mobile data collection and the ways that it can improve their work.

Graham Uzakana.
© Aulia Rahman (Akvo) 
"Most interesting was the fact that we can now use technology instead of paper-based surveys, which helps to improve the data collection in Vanuatu as it is easier and quicker. ADRA is using Akvo RSR (Really Simple Reporting) to bring projects online and instantly share progress with everyone involved and interested. All islands covered with WASH surveys can be shown on a map which gives an informative overview and is easy to understand.“ (Graham Uzakana, VCPP Project Manager, ADRA, Vanuatu)

For some people not just e-data entry but even the use of smartphones was totally new.  But due to the high motivation of the participants, and the great team work, this challenge was met very soon and everyone got familiar with the new technology.

Mr Graham Rovea.
© Aulia Rahman (Akvo)
I have never used a smartphone before so it took some time to feel confident with the phone but I really liked the workshop. Conducting surveys in communities will be much quicker with the new technologies (Akvo) which will save us a lot of time.“ (Mr Graham Rovea, RWS Officer, DGMWR, Malampa Province, Vanuatu)

Once the data is collected, Akvo offers a service that clearly shows the current status of projects, location, funding information and many more, on their Akvo RSR (Really Simple Reporting) platform.  DGMWR can use Akvo RSR to present their projects on a demo partnersite, which not only gives a clear and structured overview on its projects but it will also help DGMWR keep track of projects being implemented by other organisations

The atmosphere during the training was great. The trainers Amit (Amitangshu Acharya) and Aulia (Rahman) did a fantastic job, everyone helped each other, no one was left behind and jokes from the trainers lightened the mood when concentration dropped once it got closer to the end of the day.

Next to baseline data collection in the WASH sector, Akvo FLOW could also be used in other thematic fields and as well in emergencies, to quickly get an overview on the situation, find out what is needed, where the problems are etc. in order to provide adequate support to the affected areas and its people.

No comments:

Post a Comment