Supporting
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Connect Four EVAL

Project Cluster


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Our team is made up of; Lauren Burrows (UK), Eleanor Hazell (South Africa), Prasun Pritam (India) and Lauren Magee (USA).

Check out our Miro page (above) to follow our design thinking journey!

Challenge we are trying to solve: How can we include and consult with adolescents who do not have access to the internet and mobile phones for informed and real-time adaptations to education projects in South Africa during a pandemic/crisis in order to reduce the possibility of bias and exclusion and remain within our do no harm principles. 

Why is this important? During COVID-19 we have become heavily reliant on remote data collection methods, including mobile phones and the internet. Not only does this create potential bias against hard to reach populations, but also excludes those who not have access to mobile phones and the internet. Linking our do no harm principles, equity and innovation, we have created a community centred solution that includes a wide range of stakeholders, existing networks and technology placement that attempts to leave no one behind. 

Solution: Our solution is a community, and specifically youth centred technology network, inclusive of private and public sector partnerships and spanning local to global impact. This is a network that is put in place pre-pandemic and works to evolve thinking from reactive to proactive and real-time MEL during a pandemic. It is explained through a user journey from the perspective of an adolescent in our video. Additional information is outlined below: 

Watch the video to hear our solution through a user journey! 

  1. Adolescents/Youth - Youth lead technology clusters are set up pre-pandemic. A cluster is made of a group of families close together in the community, in particular inclusive of those who do not have access to mobile phones or the internet. Youth form the technology cluster lead with a SMART phone, acting as a conduit (end-point) for information from the community to the evaluators/project team with frequent cluster meetings. During a pandemic, they have the responsibility of instigating a “rapid data collection package” (which is already set up on a SMART phone with pre-pared monitoring questions and action plan of who to talk to when). These adolescents are also trained weekly via the SMART phone.
  2. NGO – the NGO is tasked with recruiting and training technology cluster leads prior to any pandemic or disaster and ensuring that they are trained on data collection, ethics, confidentiality, data management, interviewing techniques and other pandemic related protection measures. Youth/Adolescents will be recruited based on do no harm principles and inclusivity maximized through a mentorship system of younger/older youth and a rotation system that is activated every ten days.
  3. Google / Tech start-ups – To enhance capacity strengthening and ensure the youth/adolescents were provided with a 21st Century education, Google (and/or a local digital start up) would provide weekly training sessions on data, coding and other digital innovations via the SMART phones. This is also important from the perspective that Google Loon uses Wi-Fi balloons over South Africa and our project is intended to connect this hugely innovative project with a local element and increase local ownership.
  4. Government departments– The National statistics department and Health department are active users of the end-data utilizing technology clusters as conduits for vital population and health statistics during a pandemic/disaster. The frequency of technology clusters as small groups of families would allow for passage of information in real-time to quickly inform national response.

Through this local to global partnership and technology cluster we have embedded a solution within the community, creating a passage of information from hard to reach community members to specific technology youth led focal points who will update their SMART phones and upload data in real-time (thanks to Google Loon balloons overhead that will also allow for WiFi access). This data is then  used by the NGO and government departments to quickly inform pandemic/crisis response. The addition of Google and digital private sector organisations then allows for a knew passage of digital capacity strengthening to go back through the SMART phones to youth who can maintain learning pre and during a pandemic/crisis. Finally, it is important to say that the passage of information will not just be one way and that young people will also have a direct line with key influencers and decision makers ensuring all can be held accountable for their actions. NGOs will continue to update youth on data usage, adapted programming and tailored community response.

Team updates: 

08.07.2020: We had our first team call. Using Miro we have started working individually on our challenge ideas, brain dump and issue mapping. Tomorrow we will come back to together to define our challenge and reflect on our ideas together.

09.07.2020: We had our second team call today which went very well. Over the past 24 hours we have all contributed to a Miro board of stakeholders, issues and potential challenges. We are almost there on the challenge definition but discussions are starting to centre around the specific challenges of consulting with beneficiaries during pandemics, and in particular the potential of mobile phone technology to exacerbate inequalities.

10.07.2020: In our meeting today we shared some findings from interviews with our MEL colleagues. A small number of interviews explored the current challenges and solutions our MEL colleagues and organisations were facing in accessing beneficiaries without internet. We learned of connecting isolated young people to youth who are digitally connected, we learned of the challenges with having one phone per household when many people are becoming dependent on it, we learned of community learning centres and much larger collaborations like the global Generation Unlimited collaboration and Google Loon. We followed this sharing of new information with an quick ten minute ideation session. Next steps are to refine our preferred ideas and vote on the best one and conduct a few additional interviews with adolescents to ensure they remain centre fold to our solution.

11.07.2020: After redefining our ideas over night, in our call today we finalized two prototypes using a user story board, from the perspective of an adolescent and a brief action plan of what would occur pre and post pandemic. Over the next 24 hours we plan to test our prototype, and in particular the assumptions. We will do this by reaching to eval hackathon facilitators for their opinion and also ask colleagues and adolescents in South Africa to compare the two prototypes and provide feedback on the usability and potential challenges. Tomorrow we plan to share our findings, redefine and produce our video!

12.07.2020: In our meeting today we came together to discuss our experiences with testing the two prototypes (see Miro page Day 4). Assumptions and risks we found during testing and have attempted to mitigate are: 

Assumption / Risk  Mitigation 
Age group of the technology cluster. Adolescents will need permission from their parents for all their actions. They may be prone to infection also during a pandemic while they are moving around the community. We have attempted to mitigate this by creating a mentor system between younger and older youth in the community and including a rotation system to avoid doing more harm, which then also creates a more inclusive programme as more youth can get involved
Access to Ipads and new SMART phones could cause more harm and inequality between youth in the community.  We tested our prototype with adolescents who said that SMART phones are more discrete than Ipads and that the more young people involved the better which is also why we would include a rotation system within our clusters
Youth leading the technology clusters should be from the same communities but there may be challenges with honesty and willingness to be forthcoming with sensitive information to another community members, especially being a younger adolescent A mentorship element between younger and older youth then allows for growing credibility within community dynamics and a sense of accountability 
Inclusion of a financial benefit for technology cluster leads inclusive of all youth who rotate in and out.  Feedback from testing explained that we need to be clear about this up front and manage expectations and in particular outline the continued training element that will be available on the SMART phone from Google (or tech-start up) to youth leaders
Google and the Health/National statistics dept. will want to link up ini a consortium.  Google currently leads Project Loon which focuses on huge WiFi balloons over remote rural areas and are often deployed to disaster response locations. To that end they are missing locally led ownership and knowledge. This connects all stakeholders in a technology driven consortium and provides a dormant preparation inclusive of local youth for any future pandemic or disaster response.  


We then amended our final prototype and created a script ready to include in our final user journey experience video.

13.07.2020: And that’s a wrap! The script was uploaded and combined with a short presentation illustrating our proposed solution and network from the perspective of an adolescent. We have learned a huge amount! From how to use slack, to collaborating on Miro, to using html to upload our team updates, to embedding websites in another website, to learning how to manage huge time-zones. We feel that our team progress got stronger, more effective & efficient as the week went on and we thank everyone at he IPDET evaluation hackathon team for making this happen 😊

13.07.2020: We are LIVE.

Launched at Evaluation Hackathon by

jeremiah_ipdet facilitator_sylvia lauren_burrows eleanor_hazell lauren_magee Pritam felix_stips

Maintainer jeremiah_ipdet

Updated 13.07.2020 09:48

  • lauren_burrows / update / 13.07.2020 09:48
  • lauren_burrows / update / 13.07.2020 09:43
  • lauren_burrows / update / 13.07.2020 09:42
  • lauren_burrows / update / 13.07.2020 09:42
  • lauren_burrows / update / 13.07.2020 09:34

Adaptive Evaluation

Inclusive and adaptive evaluations in times of Covid-19

During crises such as COVID-19, evaluation teams need to rely on remote data collection methods. This entails intrinsic potential biases against hard-to-reach populations that need to be mitigated through innovative methods and tools. What methods and tools can evaluators use to ensure that hard-to-reach populations are not left behind in evaluations undertaken during crises? Covid 19 unveiled an invisible thread linking methodological challenges, need for equity, and “do no harm”. To be effective, evaluations have to adapt and respond to each of these challenges. What concrete and practical tools can we develop by looking at the intersection of methodological challenges, “do no harm”, equity, and innovation? What can we learn and immediately apply from evaluation methods designed to operate in fluid and uncertain conditions and with imperfect information?

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