Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.
It’s done! Thanks to six 1%PROJECTS in Nairobi we’ve been able to test four M&E 2.0 tools: a smartphone application, participatory video, texting and blogging. In a pilot of just four days, between June 25th and June 28th, twelve highly committed participants have provided us with valuable insights into the (possible) value of M&E 2.0 and the challenges that still lie ahead.
Inspired by the thought that ‘change is good’, we’d hereby like to share our four most significant insights and changes of opinion based upon this pilot:
1. Using M&E 2.0 tools encourages enthusiasm for M&E in general.
Based upon the fact that a lot of our colleagues tend to see M&E as dull, boring and complicated, we were surprised to meet a group of motivated staff members, all eager to learn more about M&E. And the use of 2.0-oriented tools definitely increased their enthusiasm. In itself, being able to work with smartphones and flip-cams stimulated participants to carry out M&E, it actually became fun!
2. M&E 2.0 improves the appreciation and perception of organizations.
The pilot-organizations received a lot of positive feedback from actors around them, simply because of using our M&E 2.0 methodologies. In the case of Amani Kibera for instance, several community members were impressed by the fact that the organization was able to carry out a real sms campaign! Other CBO’s working in the same area approached staff members of the organization to find out how they had managed to organize this. Making use of these tools is regarded as something reserved to big NGO’s and corporations, not as a playing field for small CBO’s.
3. Availability of required M&E 2.0 technologies is still limited.
For successful implementation of the piloted M&E 2.0 tools in the long run the presence of technological hardware like smartphones, flipcams and laptops is required. This is a challenge for all of the involved organizations. The phones required for the use of texting as an M&E tool are readily available and widespread, However, this tool unfortunately has high percentages of errors and drop-outs in the process of data collection.
4. A lot of work remains to be done.
To enable organizations to keep on implementing M&E 2.0 a lot of work remains to be done increasing the usability and scalability of 2.0-tools. The front-end, but mainly the back-end of tools like a smartphone application and a texting campaign are still highly inaccessible for tech-dummies. It requires too much expertise and needs to be simplified. This will encourage project owners to continue using M&E 2.0.
As highlighted above he pilot in Nairobi has provided us with some first answers to the questions ‘Which tools (mobile, video, photo) can be used best for data collection and how?’ and ‘How can we motivate and engage project owners to use this tool?’. Now we need more input regarding the question ‘How can the input generated through these tools be visualized (e.g. a dashboard, through mapping) and which software is needed to do this?’.
Therefore, at this point we challenge you: programmers, communicators and designers, to come up with relevant solutions to this puzzle. Feel free to use our findings, analyze our raw data or ask for our opinion. We remain committed to developing M&E 2.0. At your service!
Open Data for Development Camp 2012
In a few weeks the Open Data for Development Camp (ODDC) 2012 events will take place in Nairobi and Amsterdam. They are bound to be great events, which will take the usage of Open Data to the next level.
In 2011 we organised the first Open Data for Development Camp in Amsterdam, bringing together a diverse crowd of policy-makers, development aid workers, researchers, journalists, ICT-staff and software developers in order to learn about the possibilities of Open Data for Development, share experiences and networks. Here you can read more about the 2011 event.
Following that event, the NaiLab ICT Incubation Centre in Nairobi called out to the organisations present in Amsterdam: You have the data, we need that data. Give us the data!
They suggested having the next event in Nairobi and offered to help with the organization. So this year we will take them up on that offer, in addition to holding a 2012 event in Amsterdam.
On Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th June, we’ll be at the iLab at Strathmore University in Nairobi, to connect on-the-ground initiatives on open data and citizen engagement in development initiatives.
On Friday the 29th June, we’ll come together in Amsterdam with lots of Dutch organisations, to take stock of what is happening, and to engage in making the data available that African organisations and companies are asking for in Nairobi.
OpenData for Development Camp in Nairobi
The ODDC in Nairobi is part of The Kenya Open Data Pre-Incubator Program, a six-month experiment to help accelerate the availability for the public to make sense of data and to galvanize engagement around critical public issues.
The event in Nairobi will be a 2-day conference about open data and open international development. These terms might sound vague, so here’s a brief explanation:
Open data is a term that is used to describe data that is freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
Open international development takes into account open data, but also open cooperation. It’s the idea that organisations that work in the field of international development should work together to make tools and create efficiency.
In March 2011 the Obama Administration launched the Open Government Data initiative, which fits into our Open Data Development philosophy. One of the countries acting upon it was Kenya and in July 2011, with a lot of support from the World Bank, it launched The Kenya Open Data Portal. There was a clear message: for the people to hold us accountable.
Nearly a year after its launch, it seems like a good time to look at next steps. How does it influence people? So with this event we’ll take it a step further and explore how indeed the Open Government Data of Kenya, the Open Data of the World Bank and the IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative) files impact the tech community in Kenya and, behind them, the active citizens.
The ODDC in Nairobi is organised by ICT Board Kenya, Kenya Open Data Initiative, Open for Change, World Bank, NaiLab, iLAB, Akvo, 1%CLUB, Hivos, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Development Gateway.
The event will offer a combination of keynote speakers, workshops, best practices, speed geeking, hack space, networking, exchange of knowledge and needs, sharing data sets, co-creation, open data visualisations, and inspiration.
Open Data for Development Camp in Amsterdam
The ODDC in Amsterdam will focus on explaining open data and open development to interested organisations and NGOs. It will elaborate on what IATI is, what is happening all over the world in the field of open data and ways in which opening up data can impact an organisation. There will be a connection to the Nairobi event via Skype interviews and presentations.
The ODDC in Amsterdam is organised by Open for Change, Partos, Akvo, 1%CLUB, IICD, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
It will take place in the AmLab in Amsterdam and will be a combination of keynote speakers, workshops, best practices, networking, exchange of knowledge and needs, open data visualisations, and inspiration.
Josje Spierings is a project assistant for Akvo.
On March 22nd 2012, World Water Day, Butterfly Works launches a serious, but fun game about water scarcity in slums. The game and supporting Facebook campaign aims to create awareness amongst Dutch youth about the life of young people living in slums and especially in relation to water and the environment.
World wide, nearly 1 billion people live in slums and the number is growing, water is a basic necessity and providing access to clean water and sanitation for the world’s poor is one of the millennium development goals set for 2015.
Recently the popularity of ‘Games for Change‘ is growing, whereby the help of gamers is enlisted to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. GetH2O Challenge is a game about the challenges that slum dwellers face getting (clean) water. A fun game based on real life situation, with an educational purpose the game allows you to experience the race against the clock managing water, housing and pollution.
In the game you play the role of a ‘Change Maker’ who is working for the good of the community.
Your aim in the game is to build houses and manage the water supply while keeping the pollution in check, you can build water tanks and wells to improve the supply but time is always against you. In the end the best way to win the game is to build a community centre where the whole community come together to take action to solve the problem for once and for all.
On the accompanying Facebook campaign page Ben and Winnie, two students who live in Kibera, (an informal settlement of Nairobi) Kenya, share a video message giving you a glimpse into their life and the challenges they stumble upon getting water everyday.
By playing the flash game Dutch young people can experience slum life and what choices you can choose from and in that way learn to understand just how difficult things can be. Young people motivated to do something about the issue can share the game and the video messages with friends on Facebook, or donate money to one of a selection of water projects through the crowdfunding site 1%CLUB who is collaborating in the campaign.
Play the game, check out the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/GetH20Game and share it with friends.