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How We Created a Digital Solution to Overcome Rural Data Collection Challenges for the UNDP CIEWS Project in Zambia

In this article, we recount how we were tasked with creating a data capture app for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded project, Climate Information and Early Warning System project (CIEWS), which was being implemented by the Zambia Meteorological Department. The objective was to digitize their manual data collection process by providing a digital solution that would allow data to be captured digitally and stored in the cloud. However, the challenge was that some of the places where the data was going to be collected from did not have Internet connectivity, requiring a tool that was able to work both online and offline.

Initially, the UNDP CIEWS project team looked to create a solution by themselves using free online-based applications like Google Forms and Survey Monkey, but quickly realized that those tools were not going to work in remote areas of the country with little or no connectivity. The team had to act fast as enumerators were already being trained on how to conduct the exercise. With only four days to come up with a solution, they called us in and we rose to the challenge and created a platform that could be installed on tablets (which the department had already purchased) that was able to store data locally and upload it to the cloud database once a connection was available. In cases where there was connectivity, the data collected would immediately be uploaded to the online database.

The result was a success, exceeding the UNDP’s expectations. Our ability to adapt to unexpected challenges during the project and come up with a creative solution was impressive, demonstrating the company’s dedication to delivering customer satisfaction. The next two weeks were partly spent in training the users of the new platform that we created as well providing remote support to the team of enumerators as they went about using it to collect data in the field. We also helped the team with their data analysis and visualization post the data collection.

At The Aaron G. Media, we pride ourselves in our ability to deliver solutions that meet our clients’ needs. This project was an excellent example of our team’s ability to quickly adapt and overcome challenges, resulting in a successful outcome. Our passion is delivering customer satisfaction, and that is what brings us the most joy.

In conclusion, our experience with the UNDP CIEWS project in Zambia demonstrates the importance of flexibility and creativity in project development. We were able to provide a solution that allowed data to be captured and stored effectively, even in areas with limited connectivity. Our team is always ready to take on new challenges and work closely with clients to ensure that their needs are met.

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