Between December 2017 and February 2018, CartONG & its partner Terre des hommes (Tdh) released a toolkit of 40 documents, under an open licence to facilitate the use of Mobile Data Collection by humanitarians and development actors.
CartONG has been the implementing partner of Tdh since 2013 regarding Data Mobile Collection (generally called MDC) and Information Management. Together, our two organisations have worked on numerous projects, while always paying a particular attention to capacity building and ensuring that Tdh staff would become increasingly autonomous in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects. In 2016, the idea of publishing a significant part of the documentation developed throughout the years for Tdh as a "MDC Toolkit" arose, as were being launched, in parallel, a series of MDC trainings for Terre de hommes' delegations worldwide.
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21 delegations of Tdh have been trained in MDC by CartONG in 2017!
Rawia A., Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for Terre des hommes, Lebanon
"When I want to collect, process and analyze a lot of quantitative information, I directly think of using MDC. In comparison to a traditional paper collection, MDC helps to reduce time, resources, and costs, while improving the supervision and control in real-time of the collected data. The ability to visualize outputs instantly or the possibility to capture dynamic forms of data (GPS, video, images...) with the same tool are some other advantages of MDC."
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In the writing of the partnership agreement of 2016 between CartONG & Tdh, it was decided that any new technical document would be produced under an open license - a strong ethical choice from CartONG and Tdh to help contribute to capacity building in the humanitarian and international development sectors. The 40 documents were published under a CC-BY-SA License, which allows all actors or organizations to freely use, adapt and share them, as long as attribution rights are respected and the material is shared under the same license. CartONG followed a similar reasoning when publishing its "ICTs Toolbox for small non profit organisations" this year.
The "MDC toolkit" is accessible online at: www.mdc-toolkit.org and built around the 5 main steps of MDC: 1) Preparing for the use of MDC, 2) Designing a form, 3) Training Project Managers, Supervisor and Data Collectors to MDC, 4) Managing the survey and collected data, 5) Analyzing the data. The stake of the website is to facilitate the use of MDC by all actors of the humanitarian and international development sectors, by introducing concrete MDC work tools while providing sound advice on how to best use those tools – and also, to clarify when not to use them.
Each section of the website is composed of a series of documents that humanitarian and development organizations can download and directly use and implement internally. It is important to clarify that the documentation and tools published as part of the "MDC Toolkit" are specifically designed to be applied to the humanitarian field: they were created by humanitarian experts for humanitarian actors. These tools are not always technically very advanced, but the majority of them are open source, free, and easily utilizable by all humanitarian organizations - regardless of their size, budget or the level of technical competences of their staff. A particular attention was also paid to the core challenge of training staff, and in particular, Project Managers, Monitoring & Evaluation Experts and Database Managers wishing to design their own MDC survey in full autonomy. To this end, CartONG made available the 7 MDC Training Modules that were developed to train such audiences during week-long trainings (as well as the shorter awareness raising sessions).
The "MDC Toolkit" is combined with a "Data Visualisation Toolkit" whose purpose is to help field staff improve their data visualisation practices, and which may be found in the "Analyse your data" section of the website. Note that CartONG & Tdh have also published some documentation on how to improve field data protection practises. A "Data Protection Starter Kit", as well as an auto-evaluation tool and 12 tutorials created for the use of field delegations, are thus also available on this website.
Supporting capacity building has been one of the key focuses of CartONG all throughout 2017 not only with Tdh, but with all of our partners. It is indeed one of the 4 main fields of expertise in which CartONG specializes and a growing part of our activity, sometimes working with the help of CartONG's volunteers – as it was the case for this project. In this regards, the partnership between CartONG & Tdh is a coherent and well-functioning partnership, as our two organizations have a common understanding of the work being conducted and of the sector. "I really like this project. I think it is a very good step for Tdh", Francesco Frezzetti – the Information Management Advisor for Tdh- told us .
We only are in the first phase of the project, and CartONG and Tdh intent to keep facilitating capacity building among humanitarians by continuing to release tools and documentation relevant to the use of MDC in the sector.
You can contact Tdh & CartONG via this online form for more details or if you have any questions regarding the "MDC Toolkit".
To learn about MDC, please visit the section dedicated to the subject on CartONG’s website.
For more information, on Training offered by CartONG, you may refer to our Training Catalogue (all trainings can be delivered in both French and English).
Terre des hommes is the leading Swiss child relief agency. For more information about their projects, please visit their website.
Article originally published on 15/12/17, updated on 27/03/18 following newly released documentation on www.mdc-toolkit.org