Effective Data - At the Swipe of a Finger...


In my short time with MSABI I am overwhelmed by the energy and enthusiasm this blend of extremely talented Tanzanians and expatriate volunteers bring to establishing innovative and sustainable interventions. With a little luck, I'll bring a little magic of my own :)

My name is Bobbie and I am currently placed with MSABI through Engineers Without Borders UK.

One of the key deliverables of my placement is to introduce a system which permits the efficient collection, aggregation and analysis of real time data. It excites me that MSABI is moving away from paper based data collection and toward the integration of ‘Tablets’ to replace the humble pencil case.

At the risk of sounding like a geek; people have their personal preferences, you say potato, I say potAto... But do you say iOS or Android? I most definitely shout the latter from the rooftops, and with advances from Android’s 'Cupcake' (1.5) to the eagerly awaited 'Kitkat' (4.4), why wouldn't I?

In recent weeks four new and shiny Android enabled ‘Asus’ tablets strutted through the doors of MSABI’s office in Ifakara. They’re charged up, loaded up, and eager to hit the field. So where to start?

MSABI has a robust and effective 12-step quality assurance (QA) process to ensure effective water point installation. Humans being human however, make mistakes. The filling out of forms and transfer of data from paper to computer is cumbersome and conducive to error.

Cue our four friends…

The first port of call is the build and testing of MSABI's QA process in an Android application which will allow easy data entry, aggregation and analysis. The platform? Open Data Kit (ODK). ODK allows the build of forms/ surveys via an online interface, the collection of data via Android enabled Tablets and the aggregation of data via a Google Drive appspot.

It's just a hop, skip and a jump from here;


To here;


To date, 3 of the 12 steps of the water point QA system have been built in ODK. Tablet based data collection, sequence, flow and output are currently being field tested (Kasawasawa, Kanolo, Mangula & Ibiki to date). This testing process will continue for a couple of months in parallel with paper based data collection. 

This is a SMART move by MSABI. It will provide real time substantiation and justification of interventions, and is extremely useful in demonstrating MSABI's continued and undeniable effectiveness to current and/ or aspirational donors.

So far, so good.  


Further updates to follow!