Self-Reporting is No Longer Sufficient.
Most international development agencies self-report their project outcomes, often relying on subjective data that is collected sporadically and communicated months later. These reports often highlight successes and downplay challenges.
Big Data Meets Global Development.
Now imagine a website where anyone, including the beneficiaries, anywhere in the world can virtually visit a project site of an aid agency and examine, in near real-time, program performance. This may include the adoption rates of water filters, or the usage of handwashing stations, or the indoor air quality where improved stoves have been deployed. Users can also look at a graph that compares any of those figures with results from six months or a year ago, or with households or communities in the same area that have not received the intervention.
Transparency that Funders Demand.
This is the kind of objective, independent, continuous, real-time and easily understood information that the public in the developed world have come to expect when they want to know about traffic, weather, and public transportation. We are now able to provide program implementers, funders, beneficiaries and the public with the same kind of access to information about distant projects designed to promote global health, and thereby increase communication, awareness of, and confidence in programs.
Remote Monitoring is Part of the Solution.
Remote monitoring via distributed in-situ sensors may provide crucial evidence to help inform the sector and public on the positive impacts of aid, and the on-going challenges. By demonstrating which technologies and programs are truly successful, these successes can be targeted for scaling. This will benefit developing communities by providing proven and accountable programs.