UNICEF asked us to help them build and test an electronic survey tool, to discover the effects of the global economic crisis on vulnerable families in Mufulira, a mining town in northern Zambia.
UNICEF had been working with the Zambian Ministry of Finance and National Planning in six districts of Zambia to:
- Raise understanding of the effects of the global economic crisis on vulnerable households in terms of their manifestations and the people’s responses;
- Develop knowledge of specific interventions that can mitigate the negative impacts identified;
- Use evidence so generated to advocate for national interventions that would help mitigate the worst effects of the global economic crisis.
The partners had discovered that data collection and reporting was slow and difficult, and they wanted to get information more quickly from the field, to help them to present up-to-date and relevant information to achieve policy change. They also wanted to involve the households being surveyed more directly in the project, showing them the benefits of donating their time and information to the project.
They decided to trial electronic data collection as a way to collect information more quickly and cheaply from the field, and be able to use the same devices to show participants the current results in real time using smart visualisations.
We were already in contact with the Institute for Development Studies, and they asked us to help with the project. They wanted us to provide training and technical support for Ruralnet Associates Limited in Zambia, who were undertaking these surveys.