A new mobile data collection tool is out!

Education PBF in Burundi

By Aléa Kagoyire, Project Manager

As part of the education PBF project in Burundi, Cordaid and BlueSquare have developed an innovative mobile collection tool, which will improve the effectiveness of the overall PBF data collection process.

The tool itself takes a new approach on data collection, by providing a simple interface and storing data on the device until an internet connection allows uploading the data onto the system. By using this tool, verifiers save time when collecting data and the quality of collected data is enhanced.

The app allows for data collected from the field to be uploaded onto the OpenRBF platform, and expedites the process of producing invoices with the bonus earned through the PBF to the entities part of the project.

Here is a simple graph of the data flow:

The mobile application is built on ODK (an open source serie of tools for data collection), and will provide the necessary data for the PBF project in Burundi.

How did it happen?

BlueSquare developped the data management system for the education PBF in Burundi in several stages with support from Cordaid.

Phase I: Data collection using tablets
The first phase (up to June 18, 2015), included the delivery of tablets together with solar batteries (in case of lack of electricity), that will be used during the PBF verification. A training was organized to introduce users to the various features of the mobile data collection application.

Training session on using the mobile data collection tool

As part of the training sessions, BlueSquare also provided technical assistance to the verifiers when collecting data from schools.

Phase II: Delivery of OpenRBF
By July 20th, the OpenRBF platform will be deployed and will allow importing the data collected on the tablets. Once in place, the OpenRBF will be able to produce the invoices and the payments of PBF bonus to schools can start.

Phase III: Final OpenRBF front-end
Finally, BlueSquare aims to deliver the front-end part of OpenRBF, which will provide visualization of the data collected during the previous phases in relation to quantity and quality of education services.

What do users think about the project?

All end-users appreciated the tool and looked forward improvements that will be made by using the tool. One participant shared his views:

“We are very excited of the introduction of this new technology and we hope to save time in data collection then we will gain time for other activities”

Jean Michel Ncutinamagara, ADIS coordinator

At the end of the first day of the data collection using tablets, we asked the question: “What is your impression after this first experience?

Verifiers — all excited, answered:

“Finally! We are relieved from the double work! No more struggle of double data entry: on paper, and then after on excel sheet! This will be done once and for all!”

Note that, before the introduction of tablets, verifiers went to schools to collect data on paper forms. After verification, they needed to enter the same data in Excel and then to produce invoices. Now, with the use of tablets, they will no longer need to enter the data on Excel sheets, because the collected data will be automatically sent to the ODK tool (when internet connection is available) and then transferred to the OpenRBF software.

By developing this new tool, Cordaid and BlueSquare, further their support to the education system in Burundi, in particular the verification of the quality of provided services and satisfaction of users.

Stayed tuned for more information about this experience and new innovative approaches from the project!