Monitoring, Monitoring & Evaluations Systems

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According to wikipedia, monitoring and evaluation is a process that helps improve performance and achieve results. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact. A critical aspect of M&E is the data collection process where data is collected  routinely for downstream evaluation purposes.

The East Africa Dairy Development phase 2 project, EADD II, has deployed Ng’ombe Planner, a farmer centric data collection and feedback system, where end users, in this case the farmers, record data using their own mobile phones. The data captured is saved in an online server for later on analysis. Some useful links:

Ngombe Planner Monitoring Dashboard
Ng’ombe Planner is a USSD based system and it is mainly used by end users. Since its being used for M&E, there is an imperative for monitoring the health of the system on a daily basis to ensure that its up and running and the farmers are actively recording data using the system. In essence, there is need to know from a quick glance, how many farmers have recorded today, how many cows have records, what is our airtime balance (where airtime is being automatically refunded), what is the error rates of the refunds etc, without having to log into the server and run complicated queries.

The above requirements necessitated a dashboard of performance metrics where all the parameters could be seen at once. RazorFlow is an open source HTML5 dashboard framework which claims to:

Build interactive, mobile-friendly dashboards in PHP and JavaScript. Stop worrying about cross-browser quirks and use our easy and productive APIs to build complete, full-featured dashboards.

RazorFlow provides a quick way of visualising all the important parameters that are important in the monitoring of this m&e system. With RazorFlow’s capacity of colour coding parameters based on their severity, drawing graphs based on data received and auto-refreshing every so often, the dashboard provides a quick overview of the status and health of the system and prompts the administrators to action when need be.

A live view of the dashboard can be seen from here.

It was quite easy to install and configure RazorFlow, thanks to its drag and drop libraries. The source code for pulling the data and displaying the data can be seen from here.

The writer is a consultant with the EADD II project and led the design, development, piloting and deployment of the Ng’ombe Planner system