Training the consultants from FORWARD and USAID

Training the agricultural scientists from FORWARD and USAID

Business is always a pleasure, especially when it is done out of a picturesque location like Kathmandu! MixORG recently had the privilege of consulting on a project that was undertaken by Forward Nepal, a NGO spearheading many notable initiatives in Nepal for improving rural welfare and for bringing agricultural reforms. The project has been funded by USAID and Winrock International and involves conducting baseline surveys in the agriculture sector through technology-aided interventions.

The Nepal visit was memorable for several reasons and let me share why. First, I got to interact with stakeholders from USAID, Winrock, FORWARD and several independent consultants in the field of Agriculture. It was fascinating to learn about the challenges they are working on and to hear about their efforts in improving the conditions of farmers in rural Nepal. I was moved by their determination and dedication to bring a positive change against many odds. The program consisted of a 3-day hands-on workshop that focused on training the participating consultants on using POIMAPPER, the industry’s leading mobile data collection and monitoring tool. MixORG has for long been a Partner for Pajat Solutions and we were excited to co-execute this project in Nepal, with the support of their amazing team back in Finland. Second, I embarked on a field trip to test how the solution can actual be deployed on the ground. The idea was to assess possible challenges when the actual deployment happens and to mitigate those challenges to ensure a smooth execution. It was interesting to observe how the consultants, some of whom were alien to technology, were navigating their way through the software in a way that would have been typical of someone who has used the software for years. The meticulous focus on ‘usability’ and ‘user experience’ definitely did payoff.

The rewarding part of the trip for me was to witness first hand how the mobile based data collection was transforming the project by bringing the focus back onto critical things. It is important for NGOs and other governmental institutions alike, to focus on critical matters in hand like designing welfare schemes or deploying field workers based on conclusions drawn from the data collected and not worry much about mundane things like the data collection and data monitoring process itself. This is only possible when institutions are open to change and embrace technology. We are very fortunate and thankful to FORWARD Nepal for having chosen us for this project and giving us an opportunity to make an impact. FORWARD Nepal is confidant that their decision to employ the mobile based data collection software will help them reduce the errors in data collection itself, offer faster turnaround time, assist in deeper data analysis and give them the flexibility of handling surveys.

The live baseline survey is currently underway covering 1900 households in Rural Nepal with 23 enumerators. We are excited to see that the data collection is going smoothly and the survey will continue till mid July. FORWARD Nepal is already able to obtain the data in real time and carry out data analysis. Lastly, we would like to thank Lalmani Ji, Luni Ji and the entire FORWARD Team for making our trip to Nepal memorable and personally taking great care of me during my stay out there.

If you are an institution that has been conducting surveys through traditional methods and is keen on exploring innovative mobile/tablet-centric ways for efficient data collection and monitoring, feel free to reach out to us for a free trial and training of the POIMAPPER Software.