Mobile Apps for NGOs Help Save the World - NGO Summit Report
This week in Tysons Corner, VA, the iFormBuilder team hosted representatives from NGO's such as the Hunger Project, Catholic Relief Services, TetraTech (working primaraly with USAid) Sustainable Harvest, the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation, and others navigating the world of data collection in ultra-disconnected environments. Members of organizations team shared anecdotes and best practice solutions for NGOs. M&E (Monitoring and Evaluation) was a big part of the discussion, as one attendee put it: "In M&E, its all about the RESULTS," adding that iForm apps help provide "educated, informed decisions and strategies."
Patty Olinger of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation, shared stories of her travels through Africa, discussing how iFormBuilder's Chris Reichart
guided her on bringing in multiple iPads into a third world country, how to explain their presence, and how to acquire and replace the sim cards with those of the host country, in order to assure access to cellular service. Olinger, who also oversees EHS at Emory University, also discussed how iForm mobile data collection apps are used in lab safety checklists, and thats ome lab managers went from dreading inspections ("some would actually lock the door to keep us out," she told us), to calling and requesting a walkthrough to show they had upgraded their safety standards.
This change in behavior is one very positive effect that data collection can have-- the knowledge that the meter is always running on safety and info, and the result is a better working organization, and ultimately, a healthier environment.
iFormBuilder's Tony Ruth ran a demo of the ThunderPlug mobile hub, and folks were thrilled to see a system in which data could be collected, without wi-fi, or even electrcity. We had some nifty gadgets on hand, including a solar-cell backpack for powering mobile data collection tools.
We will be posting video snippets and more in-depth case studies in the coming weeks, and iFormBuilder plans to organize additional summits, covering engineering, healthcare, education and others. We even will be sharing the ideas and advice our NGO partners had for other NGOs, in both data collection and M&E.
Knowledge is gathered with iForm, and this week, we appreciate those who shared it with each other, as well as with us. Thanks!