MERL Tech UK was a small, intimate gathering by conference standards (just under 100 attendees), but jam-packed full of passion, accumulated wisdom, and practical knowledge. It's clear that technology is playing an increasingly useful role in helping us with monitoring, evaluation, accountability, research, and learning -- but it's also clear that there's plenty of room for improvement. As a technology provider, I walked away with both more inspiration and more clarity for the road ahead. Some highlights...
Learn how to design randomized evaluations and implement them in the field to measure the impact of social programs in this new course run by MIT, edX, and Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). "Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations" is part of MIT's "Data, Economics, and Development Policy MicroMasters" program.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Haiti (Le Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Ressources Naturelles et du Développement Rural) recently collaborated with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on two impact assessments in Haiti. We connected with Jery Rambao, the field coordinator for the study, and Sébastien Gachot, a rural development specialist at IDB, to learn more about their work.
Our latest release includes more features in the Data Explorer and some minor updates that will make our users' lives just a little easier. You can read more in the release notes, watch a short video overview, and try the features yourself by logging in and updating to 2.21 today.
We recently interviewed Faizan Diwan, who many of you may know from his work with SurveyCTO. Prior to joining the Dobility team, he spent several years as a Research Manager for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Kenya, where he led multiple large-scale impact evaluations spanning finance, labor, agriculture, and public health, managed the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi, and helped lead IPA Kenya’s efforts to shift from paper-based to tablet-based surveys. We asked him about digital data collection and his advice for others.
Researchers at the Right to Education Resource Centre of the Indian Institute of Management are studying the implementation of the RTE Act in Indian states, with a special focus on Section 12(1)(c), which mandates that a minimum of 25% of seats in private primary schools be reserved for children from disadvantaged economic backgrounds. Right now, they are working in collaboration with Central Square Foundation (and using SurveyCTO!) to follow up with 2000 children who were part of an earlier study on the impact of different information campaigns on enrolling eligible students in private schools.
A special note for our users.
We are beyond excited to share the new Data Explorer exclusively with SurveyCTO users. Not only that, it's FREE and INCLUDED with every subscription tier... at least for now. The Data Explorer enables you to view encrypted data in the browser with your own 2048-bit encryption keys, visualize data in an integrated system that detects the data types of their fields and how they should be labeled, and catch data-quality issues from the first day of data-collection.
Dobility today announced the launch of the SurveyCTO “Data Explorer,” a first-of-its-kind tool for visualizing encrypted data from the convenience of a web browser. Available exclusively to SurveyCTO users, the Data Explorer reaffirms Dobility’s commitment to translating research best practices into easy-to-use features.
The Population Council conducts research to address critical health and development issues around the world. We recently connected with Andrea J. Melnikas about the Council's work in empowering and improving the lives of adolescent girls through her research on child marriage. She is using tools like WhatsApp and Google Sheets for real-time monitoring and collaboration in India, Malawi, Mali, and Niger to determine approaches to delay early marriage.
Monitor your data-collection more effectively and learn from your data faster with SurveyCTO's upcoming 2.20 release. Learn how we're supercharging your visibility into your data and doubling down on data security at the same time.
Laterite is a data, research, and technical advisory firm based in Rwanda and Ethiopia - and uses SurveyCTO for everything from short M&E questionnaires to long, complex impact evaluations in education, health, agriculture, governance, and other sectors. Recently, they started using SurveyCTO in innovative ways to streamline and scale up their enumerator hiring and management processes.
Maria Jones and Florence Kondylis share hard-won "Lessons from a crowdsourcing failure" in Rwanda in their latest post on the World Bank's Development Impact blog. (We're glad that SurveyCTO was part of the solution after they ended their relationship with an unnamed technology partner.)
So you’ve decided to go digital for your next data collection project. Great decision! Perhaps you were persuaded by some of the benefits of going digital including lower cost, higher-quality data, and more immediate access to your data. Or perhaps you’re just tired of printing pages and pages of paper forms, dragging them around, keeping them organized, and spending hours and hours entering the data you collected by hand. Whatever your reasons, we’re here to help ensure that your first digital data collection project is a success.
Dobility founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Robert discusses the role of business in social impact, what it means to stay "lean" as a social enterprise, and the opportunities afforded by digital data collection on The Impact Podcast with Innov8social's Neetal Parekh.
The SurveyCTO team occasionally fields questions about how to keep projects running smoothly, even when, for example, the government shuts down the internet. Most recently, we've been hearing from users in Ethiopia who are struggling to manage government restrictions on accessing the internet.
We recently caught up with Taylor Downs, founder of OpenFn and co-founder of Vera Solutions, to learn more about how he's helping international organizations harness data for social impact, his recommendations for creating dashboards, and some of the cool automations available to SurveyCTO users.
Google Sheets can be a powerful tool for real-time monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning. But how can you optimize your setup to work with data that is streaming in from survey forms or other integrations? How can you turn Google Sheets from a tool designed for static data into one that gracefully handles dynamic, real-time data?
Welcome to SurveyCTO 2.12! Our latest release focuses on bread-and-butter issues central to many projects: how to format questions in the clearest, most effective way; how to help users better understand and navigate groups of repeated questions; and how to most effectively capture GPS positions.
Nishmeet Singh is a Senior Research Analyst with Outline India, a research firm focused on impact at the grassroots level through data-driven decision-making. With two degrees in economics and experience working on projects with Save the Children, Girl Rising, Water Aid, and IMPAQ International, we were eager to learn more about his role at Outline India, his advice for other researchers, and his recent research on forced child labor in the mica mining areas of Jharkhand.
SurveyCTO user Bruno Schoumaker is a professor of demography at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. We recently connected about his research on French-speaking African immigrants and their descendants in Belgium and how he is using SurveyCTO in his work.