Leveraging new technological innovations to support the collection, sharing and use of data

"The technology allowed us to collect more than 15,000 real-time data points in seven days. The real-time data monitoring has made our water, sanitation and hygiene projects easier to manage and more effective", Karmath Subedi of Nepal WASH Alliance

The enhanced ability to share and use data resulting from recent advancements in technology and internet connectivity is an important opportunity for Nepal - economically, socially and environmentally. One such advancement is the growth in interconnected mobile applications that enable reliable and cost-effective data collection and monitoring. Data collection and monitoring tools use smartphones and online workspaces to facilitate the capturing and sharing of data, often with geographical referencing.  By improving the process of data collection they support the use of data for more effective coordination, monitoring, and evidence based development. Examples include Akvo’s Flow and Really Simple Reporting (RSR),Rooster Logic’s REMO, and Integrity Action’s Development Check  .

The tools are currently being used in Nepal’s development sector to solve a range of problems, including those related to livelihoods, nutrition, post disaster assessments and water, sanitation and hygiene. Some success cases were shared at an event recently organized by Akvo Nepal to grow awareness around the use of these data tools to transform international development.

 For example, the Nepal WASH Alliance shared that for organisations who work with multiple partner organizations sharing data is as important as collecting data. According to Karmath Subedi, rather than being time consuming and tedious, the use of the Akvo RSS tool has made "the communicating of project information and coordinating much easier”. The Akvo Flow application is used by one of the partners of Nepal WASH alliance – Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH). They have used it for assessing earthquake damage and WASH status in 14 village development committees in Gorkha. Using data collected in real time they were able to quickly plan necessary support and design an effective response program in these places. "It also helped them cross check data and information through GPS locations, photographic evidence and timely updates direct from the field".

Ratna Karki of Rural Reconstruction Nepal  shared that "It has been remarkable that 1,029 survey forms with 276 questions were completed by just 15 project staff within 10 working days. The application has enabled us to collect baseline data in real-time data and quickly".  According to Ratna Akvo Flow has made gathering of reliable data simpler and more easily sharable across dispersed teams. Its flexible survey design has allowed his team to capture different types of data, and map situations on the ground quickly and precisely so that decisions can be based on accurate information.

ICCO Cooperation Nepal used Akvo tools to collect data on the needs of the affected communities which helped them base their decisions on the real needs of the people. According to Saugat Gautam "Using these tools we were able to collect and analyse data to find out that 90 per cent houses have been damaged in one of our project districts and that 70 per cent people were not prepared for winterization. So we decided to shift our focus to immediate winter preparation from long-term shelter building".

These cases demonstrate that when data can be accessed easily and quickly in shareable formats it encourages people to use it in their work.  Technology-supported tools can help development workers to translate raw data from the ground into actionable intelligence for solving myriad development problems. For more information please contact Akvo, Rooster Logic or Young Innovations