Tag Archives: ICT

2020 GeOnG Forum: registration is now open!

Guest post from GeOng

Registration to the 2020 GeOnG Forum, taking place from November 2nd to 3rd, 2020 is now officially open! Please take 2 minutes to fill out the GeOnG registration form to attend this year’s edition.

For the first time ever, the forum will take place online. Expect a few twists: more participants, many live sessions alongside a video library of short presentations, and most of the content accessible for free!

This year, we also hope to welcome a more diverse audience. To this end, we’re doing a big push to improve accessibility to the forum for Global South actors and organizations. Learn more about it here and feel free to share the information around!

We are very pleased to announce that Ben Parker, Senior Editor at The New Humanitarian will be opening the event as keynote speaker. You can learn more about the organizations expected to attend here.

We’ve scheduled 10 roundtables and an experience-sharing session on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on data practices in the aid sector.

The GeOnG team will also strive to offer a selection of 15+ online workshops as well as 20+ short presentations on a wide range of topics related to the theme of the 2020 edition: “People at the heart of Information Management: promoting responsible and inclusive practices“. Most sessions will be conducted in English, but we will have a few workshops in French as well.

Why attend?

  • Our biggest edition so far: 500 participants expected online!
  • Free access to the majority of the content of the forum
  • A wide diversity of stakeholders: NGOs, IOs, donors, Global South actors, universities and more!
  • Watch and engage with sessions live or on your own time
  • Schedule time to network with fellow attendees and GeOnG sponsors & partners
  • Be part of the conversation on responsible data and more inclusive data management practices!

The GeOnG – the Humanitarian & Development Data Forum – is organized every 2 years by CartONG. Learn more about our organization!

Created in 2006, CartONG is a French H2H NGO specialized in Information Management. Our goal is to put data at the service of humanitarian, development and social action projects. We are dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of field activities, in particular through better needs assessments and monitoring and evaluation. We act as a multidisciplinary resources and expertise center, accompanying our partners’ strategies and operations. Our staff and volunteers also support the community as a whole by producing documentation, building capacities and raising awareness on the technical, strategic and ethical challenges of digital technologies.

Reinventing the flat tire… don’t build what is already built!

by Ricardo Santana, MERL Practitioner

One typical factor that delays many projects in international development is the design and creation from scratch of hardware and software to provide a certain feature or accomplish a task. And, while it is true that in some cases a specific design is required, in most cases the outputs can be achieved through solutions already available in the market.

Why is this important? Because we witness over and over again how budgets are wasted in mismanaged projects and programs, delaying solutions, generating skepticism in funders, beneficiaries and other stakeholders and finally delivering a poor result. It is sad to realize that some of these issues may have been avoided simply using solutions and products already available, proved and at reasonable cost.

Then, what do we do? It is hard to find solutions aimed at international development by just browsing through Internet. During MERL Tech London 2018, the NGO Engineering for Change presented their Solutions Library. (Disclaimer: I have contributed to the library by analysing products, software and tools in different application spaces). In this database it is possible to explore and consult many available solutions that may help tackle a specific challenge or need to deliver a good result.

It doesn’t mean that this is the only place on which to rely for everything, or that projects absolutely need to adapt their processes to what is available. But as a professional responsible for evaluating and optimizing projects and programs in government and international development, I know that is always a good place for consulting on different technologies that are designed to help accelerate the overcoming of social inequalities, increasing access to services or automating and simplifying the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning processes.

Through my collaboration with this platform I came to know many different solutions to perform and effectively manage MERL processes. Some of these include: Magpi, Ushaidi, Epicollect5, RapidPro, mWater, SurveyCTO and VOTO Mobile. Some of these are private and some are OpenSource. Some are for managing disaster scenario, others for making poll, for health or for other services. What is impressive is the variety of solutions.

This was a sweet and sour discovery for me. As many other professionals, I wasted important resources and time developing software that was found in robust and previously tested forms that was in many cases a more cost effective and faster solution. However, knowledge is power and now many solutions are on my radar and I have now developed a clear sense of the need to explore before implement.

And that is my humble advice to any who is responsible of deploying a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning process within their projects. Before we start working like crazy, as we all do, due to our strong commitment to our responsibilities: take some time to carry out proper research on what platforms and software are already available in the market that may suit your needs and evaluate whether there is something feasible or useful or not before re-building every single thing from scratch. That certainly will foster your effectiveness and optimize your delivery cost and time.

As Mariela said in her MERL Tech Lightning Talk: Don’t reinvent the flat tire! You can submit ideas for the Solutions Library or participate as a solutions reviewer too. You can also find more information on the library and how solutions are vetted here at the Library website.

Register now for MERL Tech Jozi, August 1-2 or MERL Tech DC, September 6-7, 2018 if you’d like to join the discussions in person!