The African Development Bank, in collaboration with the World Bank, has launched an initiative that will use real time data gathering tools to remotely compile digital data from projects in Central Africa via mobile phones and personal computers.
The Remote Appraisal, Supervision, Monitoring and Evaluation (RASME) project is a partnership of the African Development Bank’s IT Department (CHIS), its regional office for Central Africa on one hand and the World Bank’s Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision and KoBoToolbox teams.
The project will enhance the collection of data in inaccessible or remote areas, including those with security and logistical challenges, a need that has been sharpened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an event held in Gabon on 28 October to launch the project, Martine Mabiala, Advisor to Gabon’s Minister of Economy said: “We are delighted with the launch of this initiative in Gabon, it will certainly be of great use to the project implementation units (PIU) especially in terms of the quality of data at entry and monitoring of projects.”
Mr. Robert Masumbuko, the African Development Bank’s Gabon Country Manager said, “This is a great initiative that I strongly support. It is absolutely necessary to take advantage of this solution, especially in this context of Covid-19. I call on all participants to adopt it for better monitoring and evaluation of our projects.”
RASME’s suite of tools are based on the KoBoToolbox platform, an open-source ICT solution developed by researchers affiliated with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. The tools are operational both online and offline and are thus useful in locations with limited telecommunications infrastructure. KoBoToolbox can also validate and analyse data, which is stored on secured servers. Deployment of RASME is expected to be subsequently rolled out across Africa.
Dr. Patrick Vinck, KoboToolbox’s co-founder said “We are very pleased to be partnering with AfDB’s Central Africa Regional Office and the World Bank’s GEMS Initiative in support of the African Development Bank’s development projects. We know that RASME will have a real impact on the ground, and we look forward to working with our partners on this project.”
The GEMS and KoBoToolbox teams will provide support, training materials and user engagement tools to the RASME team.
GEMS’ Nelly Bachelot-Dembélé, told project partners, “GEMS is deployed in 39 African countries; we will be delighted to share our experience and documents on our processes, and support you both for the training that will take place online, but also face-to-face as soon as sanitary conditions allow”. Annabelle Vinois, who leads GEMS in Western and Central Africa, also underscored the benefits of sharing data via KoBoToolbox for better coordination of development activities led by the two Multilateral Development Banks and other partners.
Rollout in Gabon will serve as a pilot for use in the wider region. By March 2022, RASME is expected to have rolled out in seven countries: Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic. As a result of the project’s deployment, Bank staff, clients and development partners will be able to more effectively prepare projects, track their progress and evaluate impact on communities in Central Africa in an open and transparent manner.