You have been asking yourself what to do to reduce the conventional challenges associated with remote data collection and M&E. You have been considering migrating from the use of paper and pen which made your work prone to error, difficult to conduct on a large scale, and high in transaction costs. Perhaps you have heard of other development organisations using mobiles for conducting surveys and in their monitoring and evaluation efforts.  If these mobiles can be used what about large scale surveys? What if a large section of your respondents are illiterates? Do you need special sophisticated phones to be able to conduct these surveys? Answers to all these questions and more are what you get when you attend TechAide’s Mobiles for Development (M4D) Workshops.

The first of TechAide’s M4D Workshop series was held for development organisations on 25 October 2012. The workshop which took place at the training/conference room of TechAide’s Accra office was attended by representatives from Technoserve, CARE International, International Needs Network, the Ghana Inter-bank Payment and Settlement System (GHIPPS) among others. The rationale for the workshop was to provide participants with hands-on experience with mobile phone based data collection, monitoring and evaluation tools and to discuss various issues concerning mobile based data collection.

The workshop afforded participants the chance to use TechAide’s PROLink for data collection and analysis. PROLink is a mobile phone based data collection and analytics solution. It is a combination of web and mobile platforms working seamlessly together, where the web platform is used for management, design and analysis of surveys whiles the mobile platform is used as a client device for collecting and exchanging data/information. It works on even the most basic of mobile phones and is enhanced with location tracking and other features.

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their gratitude to TechAide for building their capacity to use mobile based tools for conducting surveys and to use the same tools in their M&E efforts. One participant from Technoserve said “I have heard about this technology but have not been in a workshop to appreciate how it works”. He added “The most useful thing I take with me back to work is how to do surveys. What excites   me is the Geo-referencing”. Another from the GJA said “The things I took for granted; the simple things that we have been handling could do a lot more. I will carry the good message to the NGOs I consult with”.TechAide aims to organise a few more of such workshops to build the capacity of development organisation personnel on the use mobiles to design, implement and evaluate data in their surveys and for their project management  efforts.