We are pleased to share a guest blog post written by Rose Mutisya, from ACTED Kenya-Somalia. ACTED is an international NGO operating in 35 countries around the world and is committed to providing immediate humanitarian relief to support those in urgent need and protect people’s dignity, while co-creating longer term opportunities for sustainable growth and fulfilling people’s potential. ACTED in Kenya and Somalia supports the most vulnerable populations in need of urgent food, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance along with other longer-term initiatives focusing on building resilience.
The Ona software has proven to be a very powerful and useful tool for ACTED. It has enabled ACTED to overcome geographical barriers thus making it easy to manage research and data management needs for operations in Northern Kenya as well as across Somalia. Coupled with a great customer care team, the support has been phenomenal.
Tips for Better Data Quality
Ona in many ways has been useful in supporting the monitoring and evaluation of the multi-sector interventions in WASH, Food Security and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Through the software, ACTED is able to identify the challenges beneficiaries go through and find ways of providing relief during project implementation. ACTED, as a humanitarian organization, works closely with beneficiaries alongside donors, governments and other stakeholders to craft feasible solutions that reduce their exposure to risks and strengthen their adaptive and transformative capacities. This empowers them to take charge in their destiny as individuals, households and communities. In this, ACTED has lived the ACT for change, INVEST in Potential mantra!
From our experience, the software has been of immense help and below are some of the advantages derived from using the software;
- Data quality: ACTED’s data collection and management quality has increased significantly since collecting and digitizing of data at the source makes data entry efficient and cleaner. Data from Ona smoothly integrates with Excel, eliminating the need for data entry. In addition, data cleaning is greatly reduced, making it possible to deliver preliminary results in a shorter time frame. Pre-coded ranges and restrictions tailored to the survey’s needs are great for reducing errors during data collection, and also save time during database clean up.
- Risk mitigation and enumerator management: ACTED mitigates the risk of ghost beneficiaries since ODK Collect seamlessly incorporates GPS technology into the data collection exercise, and thus makes remote monitoring possible. Each mobile device has a unique ID, with the GPS points collected from the devices. With that, the survey coordinator can manage and track the enumerators through visualized maps as well as vet the quality of their work. Multimedia functionalities are also available in the questionnaires and survey forms, including photos, videos, and barcodes. The ingenious “take-picture-on-the-go” functionality has proven very useful during our beneficiary registration.
- Easy to use solution, and user friendly: The pocket-sized mobile devices are very convenient to carry around and have revolutionized mobile data collection compared to the traditional paper questionnaires that were bulky. Ona surveys support the presentation of the same survey tool in different languages making it user friendly. Enumerators are able to choose the language they are most proficient with from a dropdown list, e.g. Kiswahili, Somali or English, allowing them to communicate better with beneficiaries. The application does not need mobile network or an internet connection to collect and save data, enumerators simply upload data whenever a local wireless internet connection is available. This means that data can be collected even in the remotest areas as long as the device has enough battery.