In the second week of July of this year, I got an opportunity to participate in the AKVO Flow training jointly organized by SEIU and DWSS, Ministry of Urban Development in Kathmandu. I am Nirmal Adhikari, of Kanchan Nepal from Pokhara. After getting some theoretical as well as practical knowledge about the use of AKVO Flow in collecting the data for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, I was wondering about its effective use in the field.

Enumerator collecting data from respondent
Enumerator collecting data from respondent

I am one of the members of the (Out-put Based Aid) OBA monitoring team reviewing the effectiveness of the execution of OBA activities.  I had to collect information from the beneficiaries about the OBA activities. The OBA team and SEIU decided to use AKVO flow techniques for data collection.

Water schemes from three small town projects where OBA is being implemented, were selected; two schemes were chosen from Western region and one from eastern region.

In the first week of November, the OBA team visited Kakarvitta of Jhapa district – which is the border area – and used the Akvo flow for the data collection. Kakarvitta is one of the fastest growing towns in the eastern region; the population demography is heterogeneous and people are mainly working in agriculture and business for their livelihood.

The Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project-Kakarvitta is one of largest water supply schemes, which supplies water to more than 2000 households.

The survey was planned in a way that random sampling of 30-40 households is good enough to represent the heterogeneous population.

Before the survey started, we briefed the partners and concerned authorities including water users committee, local NGOs about the methodologies being used for the data collection. The use of Smart Phone in data collection made them very excited, which shows that the people at the ground are ready to adopt new user friendly technologies that will ultimately make their life easier.

Data collection using smart phone is portable & hassle free. You don’t need paper/pen and other devices like GPS, Camera, and recorder. Every essential tools are within a single gadget. – Mr. Dipesh Oli, Enumerator

The advantage of using AKVO Flow system is, that it is quite user friendly. A young lady who is used to using Smart Phone can easily use this system and collect the data. Within few minutes of orientation, two young people were ready to work as enumerator for the data collection. During orientation/demonstration enumerators suggested some changes for possible replies and contextualized a bit. The feedback was really helpful to contextualize the questions as I set-up the original questionnaire from Kathmandu, and it was not difficult to change the questions. I just had to logon to the website, which I could do on the spot using 3G on my laptop.

More than 40 households were surveyed within two days with the assistance of two enumerators over the OBA program implemented area. 

Rubina Mahato as enumerator with respondent
Rubina Mahato as enumerator with respondent

“The application is user-friendly, handy and less time consuming. I have been using smart phone for some time, for me it’s like using apps in my phone and I did enjoy while collecting the data using smart phone.”- Mrs. Rubina Shrestha, Enumerator

The initial plan was to collect around 35-40 data sets, but we managed to collect 50 dataset as enumerators enjoyed the whole process of data collection and survey using smart phone.

Geo tagged data sets in akvoflow dashboard
Geo tagged data sets in akvoflow dashboard

The data collection for OBA Monitoring in Kakarvitta, was very successful as we accomplished more than we expected.

The local authorities from Small Town Water Supply Project-Kakarvitta did express their interest about AKVO Flow technology.

We are eagerly looking forward using such type of technology in our small town project, so we could maintain geo-tagged information in our database. Such kind of information will be effective to locate users, coverage of supply and problem identification as water supply provider.” Chief, Small Town Water Supply Project- Kakarvitta.

-Written by: Nirmal Adhikari

Using Smart Phones to collect data
Tagged on: