It is vital that organizations involved in developments should have ways of finding out the impact of their work from the communities they serve. Therefore monitoring of projects is conducted for making sure that the work we do is the best we can do.
Monitoring happens at all stage of a project development, and helps to identify improvements for the future as well as things that are going on at present. This mainly happens through interviews, questionnaires, and by observation. Effective monitoring is complex and all of these processes of monitoring are primarily paper-based. It is evident that paper-based surveys are time consuming, error-prone and requires maximum time to derive results and deliver it to concerned stakeholders.
Taking a big leap from following the orthodox trend of paper-based monitoring, Biogas Sector Partnership-Nepal (BSP-Nepal) is now using a remote technology system for robust monitoring which provides real time data of the projects- Akvo FLOW; with organizational support from Akvo and RAIN Foundation, the Netherlands.
FLOW, which stands for Field Level Operation Watch, is a software tool that collects information on an android based smart phone and transmits the information to a central database. This smart phone application is a major improvement from paper data handling. When used online, it immediately centralizes data collected from multiple locations and generates reports.
Piloting of the application was done by BSP-Nepal to monitor technical and socio-economic impact of rainwater harvesting project completed in 2009 at Pachkhal VDC of Kavrepalchowk district. From the piloting, it could be concluded that the data collection with FLOW is more efficient and effective than previous paper-based surveys with high error rates. It is far easier and reliable than paper reports as it automatically identifies the next apposite question based on previous inputs. It also increases the speed and convenience of collection, survey management, data sharing and analysis, as well as increasing transparency in the data flow. As the conducted surveys are geo referenced and embedded with pictures the collected data can be verified online as well.
After the success of piloting Akvo FLOW, BSP-Nepal is currently using this application to monitor rainwater harvesting projects under the Nepal WASH Alliance programme in Dailekh, Palpa and Salyan districts. In the future the application is set to be used for numerous other programmes because of the application being very versatile and easy.
Sushrina Manandhar works for Biogas Sector Partnership – Nepal
This blog and other interesting information about Nepal can also be found at the RCNN website.