The potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve data collection and M&E activities is striking. Mobile phones, new platforms and repositories, and even software for reporting have reduced costs and time, improved data validity, and increased the ease of implementation. Some studies are showing these benefits.
When a team from Catholic Relief Services used iformbuilder to register and distribute vouchers to beneficiaries in a seed fair in Central African Republic, they saved over a one week prep time and reduced the personnel needed by half. CRS is now developing an entire M&E system using iformbuilder.
The ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook touches on these tools in a number of modules. Module 6 on Agriculture Innovation Systems, Module 3 on Mobile Phones, and Module 8 on Farmers Organizations describe how some of these tools have been used. The following videos are taken from only a few of the many digitized data collection and M&E service providers.
EpiSurveyor, demo of SMS data entry--
FrontlineSMS, explanation of origins and basics--
iformbuilder, basic demo--
This forum will explore two main topics:
1) Tools and issues in data collection and
2) Post-data collection—repositories, analytics, and dissemination in monitoring and evaluation. The forum will open the discussion to challenges related to using these technologies and their solutions as well.