Itâ€™s done! Thanks to six 1%PROJECTS in Nairobi weâ€™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 â€˜change is goodâ€™, weâ€™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 CBOâ€™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 NGOâ€™s and corporations, not as a playing field for small CBOâ€™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 â€˜Which tools (mobile, video, photo) can be used best for data collection and how?â€™Â and â€˜How can we motivate and engage project owners to use this tool?â€™. Now we need more input regarding the question â€˜How can the input generated through these tools be visualized (e.g. a dashboard, through mapping) and which software is needed to do this?â€™.
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!