We’d like to present Pact’s Mobile Technology Handbook, a comprehensive resource for getting started with mobile data collection. Mobile technology – mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets – have not only changed the way people communicate and share information, but also how development professionals conduct surveys, disseminate information to program participants, collect beneficiary feedback, and many other activities. With cellular networks and internet connectivity increasing dramatically in developing countries, we can expect that mobile technology will continue to supplant old ways of doing development as well as open up exciting new opportunities for engaging with participants and stakeholders.
Pact’s Mobile Technology Handbook serves as an introduction to this evolving landscape. We discuss how mobile technology can improve data collection for development programming, M&E, and other applications. Well-known platforms such as Magpi, Mobenzi, Ushahidi/CrowdMap, and FrontlineSMS are compared to give a sense of what capabilities exist and what resources are necessary to start collecting data with mobile devices. Finally, we outline a process for creating an organizational strategy around mobile technology.
We hope that you find the Mobile Technology Handbook informative, helpful, and actionable. Pact began implementing mobile data collection for M&E several years ago. Since then, more than half of our country offices have used mobile technology for everything from conducting baseline surveys to keeping vehicle travel logs. Mobile technology has enabled us to collect cleaner, richer data faster than traditional paper-based methods. If your organization is new to mobile technology or just getting started, please review the handbook and let us know what you think. For those who have some experience with mobile technology, we’d love to hear your feedback. How could we augment this handbook to help you take your organization to the next level with mobile tech?