When I was at the MERL Tech (Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning) conference recently, I heard something that resonated with me and my work at GeoPoll: using mobile technology - whether it be for financial transactions, reaching communities, or collecting and sharing key information - is no longer a subject of the future. It is happening right now. At GeoPoll, my core focus is helping our international development partners navigate this new arena effectively. I work with donor-funded organizations to help them better understand and use SMS and IVR as a means to collect data so that they can become more knowledgeable, more efficient, and more cost-effective in their work. Many days, I act as a consultant on mobile surveys, guiding our partners on what works, what does not work, and how to approach using mobile surveys in developing countries. Along this path, some themes have emerged, and so I am sharing the “Top 5 Things to Think About” when considering incorporating mobile data collection into development programs:
The Ebola crisis in West Africa has brought together aid organizations, governments and private companies from all over the world, which are donating resources and expertise to fight the spread of the disease. And although the outbreak is not yet over, progress is being made.
Hunger is an issue that affects every country in the world; globally, one in eight people do not receive the daily nutrition they need, and often women and children suffer the most. Organizations such as the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, and USAID work every day to help those in need, whether due to rising food costs, natural disasters, or conflict, but it is imperative that they have accurate data to inform their actions. At GeoPoll we work to bring a deeper, more granular understanding to topics such as food security, and we do so by using the power of the mobile phone.