Akvo FLOW: SMART technology for SMART Development


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SNV in Cambodia has partnered with Akvo Foundation to introduce an Android based mobile application for the impact evaluation of the Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programme. The first phase of the programme was implemented in the Banteay Meas district of Kampot province from 2011 to 2014, and the second phase was in 2015.

SNV Junior Professional Giri Khatri who was based in Cambodia trained local government partners and university students on using the Akvo tool. Here is an overview of his experiences in Kampot province in Cambodia.  

It all started with a three day capacity development training for local government partners and university students on the basic handling of a smart phone, GPS calibration, and the use of the Akvo FLOW tool. The training aimed at providing technical and practical knowledge on how to use the Akvo FLOW tool for data collection process using a standard questionnaire. It was facilitated by SNV advisors who were trained by the Akvo FLOW team last year.

A total of 14 participants were trained through both theoretical and hands-on practice, followed by field testing in a neighbouring rural village. A FLOW enumerator guideline was also developed and provided to all participants that helped them to remember all the steps and the procedure of using a FLOW tool.

After the training, all participants were able to handle a smart phone, operate the FLOW tool, calibrate GPS, and take photographs. Special attention was also paid to the selection of households for the survey and sample size per village. The teams were provided with a guided orientation session to clarify the terminologies used in the questionnaire. Then after, all the enumerators were mobilised for data collection in the targeted district of the SSH4A programme.

The enumerators were divided into two groups and each was led by a team leader. To ensure the quality of the data collection, data were tracked online in a FLOW dashboard by SNV advisors on a regular basis. Also, regular follow up and review meetings were conducted to resolve the problems and challenges faced during the collection process. A total of 752 households were surveyed within 9 days and in the meantime, all data were tracked and carefully reviewed by SNV advisors.

Also, SNV in Cambodia is going to implement the FLOW tool in the second phase of the SSH4A programme (2015-2017) targeting two new districts Chumkiri district in Kampot province and Basedth district of Kampong Speu province for baseline data collection and monitoring.

What makes this work SMART?

The Akvo FLOW (Field Level Operation Watch) tool is a reliable and smart technology that can be used to collect, manage, analyse and display geographically-referenced monitoring and evaluation data through the use of mobile phones and internet connectivity. It offers fast data collection, survey flexibility and analytical tools so that decisions can be made on reliable data and visual evidence.

FLOW works in a synchronized manner between a web based FLOW database server known as dashboard and an android based mobile phone with basic facilities of camera and smart GPS application. A survey with a set of quantitative analytical questions is prepared in the dashboard, whose responses can be text, number, options with single or multiple choices, photograph, GPS location or even a bar code. and downloaded in the mobile phone through a flow app known as field survey.

Data collection can then be started and transferred into the dashboard through a one click mechanism. The data can be further downloaded in Microsoft Excel format for report generation and analysis by the SNV advisors. In case of error or confusing data, the data collector can immediately be informed and action taken to correct the information.