By Raquel Wexler and Ye Wang
UNICEF aims to scale up national real-time monitoring systems in 110 countries by 2021, starting with an initiative to support 11 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and East and South Africa regions through the scale up of RapidPro. US$3 million has been provided to support an initial 11 countries for one year to help plan, test and scale-up national real-time monitoring systems using RapidPro. Participating countries include Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, State of Palestine, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“This initiative is about working together — across 11 countries in three regions — to implement the power that RapidPro’s real time information can bring to programmes and positively impact children. The lessons we are learning will benefit countries well beyond these initial 11,” said Cynthia McCaffrey, Director, UNICEF Office of Innovation.
This year, participating countries will receive integrated technical and financial support to catalyze the use of RapidPro where it is not yet deployed, expand RapidPro to new geographic areas and sectors, and scale up existing real-time monitoring activities at the national level, while sharing experience and lessons learned within and across regions. In addition, the use of RapidPro to support national real-time monitoring systems will be fully aligned with national priorities, and embedded into ongoing country programme development.
RapidPro scale up across the globe
Strengthening social cash transfers for the most vulnerable in Nepal
RapidPro will be used to enhance real-time programme monitoring and accountability of Nepal Government’s Child Grant programme, one of five social cash transfer for the most vulnerable, through polling households enrolled in the programme about the implementation and delivery of the grants. “It will be helpful to hear from beneficiaries living in remote areas on their experiences of the Child Grant and use the information to improve national policy and implementation at local level,” says Bhagwan Aryal, Undersecretary at the Department of Civil Registration of Nepal.
Supporting maternal and child health in Bangladesh
RapidPro will be integrated to the national DHIS2 system (District Health Information System2) – a system that collects routine data on maternal health and children from 13,500 community clinics throughout Bangladesh by establishing a two-way communication between the health sector and pregnant women. It will enhance capacities of frontline health workers, providing them with information they need to deliver to beneficiaries. Meanwhile, it will ensure bottlenecks faced by expectant mothers are addressed, including gaps in quality health and service delivery.
Monitoring sanitation services in India
In India, RapidPro will be used to create national capacity to monitor WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) services delivery. The initial focus will be to monitor progress towards Swacch Bharat Mission (“Clean India Mission”) in the two biggest states in India, namely Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Evidence gathered through RapidPro will be used to improve social accountability as well as to design future efforts to mainstream and scale up innovations in India.
Connecting immunization health workers with public in Pakistan
RapidPro for immunization services in Polio Tier 1 districts and urban slums will be rolled out in some of the major cities across Pakistan, which are among the highest risk areas for Polio virus and other vaccine preventable diseases. Through RapidPro, the planned interaction between front-line workers and people will initiate dialogues on health seeking behaviours and practices, and provide conscious improvements in immunization services to meet public demand.
Early detection of children with disabilities in Palestine
RapidPro will be used in the State of Palestine to address Early Childhood Development (ECD) with particular focus on the early detection of children with developmental delays and disabilities. It will support the national ECD system led by the Ministry of Social Development in close coordination with the National ECD Committee, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.
Monitoring primary education enrolment and attendance in Jordan
In Jordan, RapidPro will support the Hajati (“My Need”) Programme to increase primary education enrollment and decrease drop-out through cash transfers to the most vulnerable families. Despite monetary support, this Integrated Social Protection Programme will provide complementary social protection services for families whose children are still showing alarming levels of absence. “Rapid Pro represents a major innovation for Jordan Institutions as it will allow to access real time feedback from beneficiaries on the quality of social assistance and basic services being delivered,” says Basma Ishaqat, Director General of Jordan National Aid Fund.
Improving real-time data on rural WASH infrastructure in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, RapidPro will be integrated with Rural WASH Information Management System (RWIMS) to enable communities to report changes in WASH infrastructure functionality through SMS directly to government extension workers. RapidPro will also increase availability and reliability of real-time data to support national monitoring of WASH indicators, improve equity analysis and the use of technological innovations in emergency preparedness and response.
Building national health facilities monitoring system in Swaziland
In Swaziland, the scale up will focus on strengthening social accountability in programme monitoring of health facilities at regional levels. RapidPro will be rolled out to 80 health facilities to collect real-time client feedback by replacing paper-based Client Satisfaction Surveys. It aims to improve health facility performance through enhanced monitoring, functional feedback loops and learning.
Upgrading national health information system in Uganda
In Uganda, the upgrade to RapidPro from mTrac will enhance the availability of real-time information in delivering better results for women and children. RapidPro will strengthen qualitative surveillance data on major disease affecting women and children and improve polling and survey tools that link actors, questions and results in real time. It will allow interactive sessions for health sector stakeholders and users on health service delivery feedback via SMS. It will also provide common functionalities that can be easily integrated with existing health information system applications such as DHIS2, iHRIS and FamilyConnect.
For more information on the RapidPro Scale-Up initiative and country use cases, please contact:
Raquel Wexler – rwexler [at] unicef [dot] org
Kristina Rashid – krashid [at] unicef [dot] org