Presently WaterAid Bangladesh maintains an MS Access based PMIS to track programme progress and reporting purposes. In existing PMIS data validation is difficult and data compilation and analysis are time consuming and human resource intensive. Heavy paperwork is involved with the process and there is a possibility of human error. To overcome the limitations recently mobile applications based PMIS has been initiated as an innovative approach to generate real-time and authentic data that would enable prompt management decision. The system includes data collection, visualization (including mapping), analysis and reporting features.
In the system the frontline staff of PNGO enter achievement (sanitation, water, hygiene) and water quality test data and take photograph of the facilities and its GPS coordinates using an Android device based mobile application i.e. Smartphone. Data are sent to a central server by using mobile internet connectivity to report instantly. When there is no connectivity, data can be stored in the device and sent later on.
The M&E personnel of PNGO enter the original plan and revised plan to the application through using a web browser and data are stored in the server. If any change is done in plan an email notification is sent to the management of WaterAid as well as PNGO.
There is a provision of generating preset reports and visualization like graphs, charts, maps, etc and demand based reports. The entire data set can be exported to MS Excel and other statistical software like SPSS. The system also has a provision of automatic Google Earth synchronization. Also the web application has a Google Maps plugin with similar functionality. In other words, it has superior features to the water point mapping tool. In the system there is no possibility of losing data as these are stored in the server with schedule backup.
Recently piloting of the system has been completed and the upshots are very encouraging. Data verification becomes easy and can be done remotely using the GPS coordinates and phone number of the households. The system helps the programmes to be inclusive as the managers can identify the excluded from the coverage map and take timely measures. As community are engaged in data recording and witnessed its usage, the system enhances community participation. In this way it values of innovative, inclusive and collaborative are demonstrated.
As the server is ready, only cost for replication involves procuring Smartphone, training to staff and maintaining internet connection. There is potentiality for replication and scaling up of the system in other WA countries. Data can be stored in the CP or in the main server of WAUK once the GPMIS is figured out. The system is already in scaling up mode within Bangladesh CP. Copies the database will be handed over to the Local Government Institutes or in the local level Government’s local Information before phasing out from any project locality; and required information will be provided digitally to the national MIS system of Bangladesh which is under process of formulation following the similar architecture.