The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (UNDOCO) will incorporate a real-time monitoring module using the open source platform, RapidPro, into UN INFO and make it available to all UN country teams. UN INFO is a platform that digitizes the UN Development Assistance Framework and is being rolled out to all UN country teams. The integration of RapidPro in UN INFO is the result of a collaboration between UNICEF, the SDG Action Campaign and UNDOCO, to scale innovations to the UN development system.
Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader, Knowledge and Innovation, UNDOCO, noted, “We are excited to scale this real-time monitoring application on Rapid Pro, an open software application developed by UNICEF that has been embraced by the programming community and is now a solid tool to gather different types of information and data. Across the UN system, we see a need for a way to get feedback from the people we serve to make sure UN-supported programmes reach their intended audience.”
The real-time monitoring application will provide UN country teams with a simple and efficient tool for UN agencies to conduct surveys to monitor programmes, to gather perceptions on monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals, to run flash polls around specific issues and raise awareness about the integration of real-time monitoring approaches in programming. UNICEF is supporting the development of related tools and interagency guidance on the use of mobile feedback mechanisms including RapidPro in the country.
Gina added “Working with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation and Information Communication and Technology Division, we have been learning from UNICEF experience and incorporating many of the recent lessons learned from UNICEF’s national real-time monitoring systems strengthening through the scale of RapidPro initiative. We’ve also been working with WFP building from their library of tools and data governance methods used in the Mobile Vulnerability Assessment. This is the UN coming together at its best!.”
Operationalizing real-time monitoring for UNCTs
The United Nations has country teams in 130 countries, covering the 164 countries and territories where the UN is present. United Nations Country Teams (UNCT) encompass all UN entities that carry out operational activities for development in programme countries. The real-time monitoring module will provide UN country teams with the option of gathering citizen-generated data and use it as indicators for their programme goals. Initially, two built-in surveys will be initially be included in the module to gather people’s perception data on the SDGs. These two surveys are linked to My World 2030 initiative and have the following characteristics:
- In My World Community, respondents are asked to select the SDGs they are most passionate about and to define their level of satisfaction with their progress.
- My World Scientific captures people’s voices in a more detailed way to build a more coherent picture of how SDG progress is made on people’s lives. It has a set of 50 questions to gather perception data linked to each SDG
All the data gathered will be published in UNCT websites, UNSDG global site, UN Info, and My World 2030 site. UNICEF’s Director of Information, Communication and Technology Division, Daniel Couture, noted: “UNICEF’s ICT Strategy seeks to facilitate the innovative use of technology across programmes and operations, and achieve a better balance of investments between operational efficiencies and programme effectiveness initiatives. I am pleased to see that the UN Development Group has recognised RapidPro as a Global Good. This initiative will not only provide an opportunity to leverage existing solutions and investments, such as RapidPro but also help build a stronger partnership across the UN System for using digital technologies, in our programming for children.”
In addition, UNDOCO has noted increased national partner interest in using RapidPro to support real-time monitoring at the national level. The integration of RapidPro in UNINFO will provide UNCTs and partners further guidance and tools about the use of RapidPro and its various platforms – including for U-Report, Digital Health, and real-time monitoring across programmes.
Cynthia McCaffrey, Office of Innovation Director, noted: “I am pleased to see our UN partners embrace RapidPro as a real-time monitoring solution. As the proliferation of mobile networks has created new opportunities to use the full potential of mobile tech for good, we hope that this effort will help the wider UN community become more familiar with the use of open source mobile solutions in support of the SDGs.”
The initiative will start by building MY world surveys into RapidPro and will be tested by Lesotho, Ukraine, and Mexico in early 2019.
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