Pact Pioneers Mobile Technology in Western Nepal

February 4, 2014

Collecting data just got simpler in rural areas of Nepal. Pact recently completed a survey of 7,500 rural residents using mobile data collection software and equipment to record responses to questions about the quality of their local government and to provide mapping and real-time data analysis by combining SMS with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies.

The survey, completed in December by one of Pact’s partners, Interdisciplinary Associates (IDA), will assist Pact and its local partners in implementing a development project designed to increase the participation of rural citizens, especially marginalized groups such as women and youth, in local government planning.

Called Sajhedari Bikaas, or Partnership for Development, the project seeks to empower ordinary people to participate in government planning, building trust in local institutions and helping citizens to ensure that their needs are being met. The project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by Pact.

A key finding of the survey indicated that 75 percent of respondents believe their communities are now “on the right track” when it comes to development, a significant increase compared to findings from surveys conducted prior to Nepal’s national elections, held last November.

Use of mobile technology is on the rise in international development, but much of Nepal has not yet benefited from the surge in mobile data collection. Pact’s recent use of the technology through a platform called Mobenzi has helped to pave the way for greater use in the future.