1.1.3 Use Free or Low-Cost Tools to See Significant Reduction in Data Collection Costs
Free or low-cost software can help YEO programs save on M&E. A 2011 World Bank report documented a 71 percent decrease in data collection costs1 with Episurveyor versus paper (for more information on Episurveyor, now renamed magpi, see also “Blend technology and traditional methods to enhance data collection for hard-to-reach populations.”) These low-cost tools continue to create new opportunities for YEO programs interested in adding technology to their M&E programs. Many software programs have improved over time, are more user-friendly than ever before, and can be easily downloaded from the web.
Noteworthy Results: EDC Saves Costs and Staff Hours Using Tablets for Needs Assessment Surveys
A workforce readiness program in Kenya faced challenges staying on budget. A staff of eight field collectors and one M&E Manager were tasked with completing a quarterly needs assessment in a remote village. Staff time for that undertaking totaled 28 days. Data analysis lagged weeks to months behind capture. The team tested SurveytoGo by Dooblo on Lenovo Tablets. By adding tablets to traditional data collection, they hoped to streamline costs and stay within a limited M&E budget. The survey was inexpensive ($.11 per survey), worked on mobile devices and computers, and included full encryption of data and a hosted server. They found that the mobile adaptation produced a 75 percent cost savings and a “priceless” improvement in data quality. Comparison of time spent on data collection shown below.