From Paper to Progress: How mForm is Streamlining Data Collection

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I was sitting, taking in the Friday evening air – wondering how long I would sleep this weekend – 8 hours? or 9 hours? 12? Well, now that was a mystery I was eager to solve. But then Ravi, my manager, came and said, “Nihaan, You have to go to Gujarat for SuPoshan Training. “From when?” – I asked; “Sunday Morning is the flight – you’ll return Tuesday Night” was the reply, killing my delightful mystery.
So on Sunday, strapped and packed for the flight, ready to train the SuPoshan Sanginis (Field level workers) in the mForm V2 application (DRIS’s flagship data collection product). Now you may have two questions, as follows:

What is SuPoshan?
SuPoshan is a program by the Adani Foundation, along with Adani Wilmar, wherein they primarily focus on alleviating malnutrition of 0-5-year-old children across the country. Starting from Gujarat, which has the lowest stats for the same, they have expanded all across the country. At the forefront of this, are Sanginis, who like ASHA workers are natives of the village who volunteer (they receive a stipend for their services) to perform all activities which I have mentioned above.

And mForm?
mForm V2 is the upgrade or evolution of the mForm application which is currently used by multiple leading organizations in the country. Unlike Avatar, the sequel of mForm is actually better than the first one. It is primarily used by organizations for data collection, where then they later visualize the data using the in-built dashboard or connect it with external sources to play around with the data as they wish

Answering the question, I come back to the present; which is a mystery (read: sleep) derived me, catching a plane, then a cab, then a train, and then a tuk-tuk to reach the final location. The location? Gurudeshwar, Gujarat – right beside the towering Statue of Unity. Two days of training Sanginis in Rajpipla and Dediapada (sites in Narmada District, Gujarat) awaited me. What I expected was a tedious two days of training, where I would explain each and every aspect of the application, and hope they understand the flow and process to implement it when the time comes.

The Reality? I learned more than I came to train them for (No, this is not because I did not train well). The SuPoshan Officer (they are the supervisor/trainer/support system of the Sanginis on the ground) along with the Sanginis opened my eyes to the transformative nature of fieldwork. When fieldwork comes to your mind, what do you think? Natives of the village scramble to adopt digital devices in their daily lives, in order to achieve the objectives of some English-speaking project managers by tippy-tapping numbers into their devices one by one. Instead, here I found women, who would come together, travel long distances (on scooters, buses, or alternative vehicles) to attend the training, compare the application to their existing ones, Critique and suggest better form scripting styles and questions, and discuss with me (A mediocre Hindi speaking south Indian) the landscape of their work, and how mForm would loop into it. It was the day I felt what empowered means.

          

Having worked on an earlier application for the last 2 years, the Sanginis (as mentioned above) were able to point out the benefits and caveats of using the mForm application, after one round of training (People in my office took more time to learn how to get coffee from the coffee machine – though in their defence the coffee machine did sometimes forget it is a coffee machine and starts pouring water instead of milk). These points and my own make it possible for me to put down the following updated features of mForm (there are much more but well keeping them to a minimum so I don’t sound like a credit card salesman.

  1. Modern Navigation and UI: Resembling Instagram’s profile view, and Whatsapp instant data(message) filling functionality, mForm brings out so many comparative laterals to modern apps that it makes it easier for a first-time user to understand the flow and makes them want to fill it.
  2. Indicator and in Mobile Dashboard: One gap that the mForm app aims to bring is allowing the end user to visualize the summary of the data they have filled in, which is reported on the upper levels. Mobile dashboards (which have cards/charts) allow the user to do exactly that, keeping the data collection, and the data flow highly transparent from bottom to top. This way the end user knows what they are filling, in and the direct output generated.
  3. Offline Functionality: Considering not every pocket of the world is still accessible by the internet (Sorry Starlink does not count yet) All features of mForm remain functional and are even faster when one fills the data offline. This allows the user to fill in the data anytime, anywhere
  4. Safety of Data: The data flow from bottom to top remains transparent, but only to the users within the organization. Features like data encryption and Multi-tenancy (one system that has separate databases for each organization) give you the power to who has access to the data.

mForm V2 brings a culmination of the above-mentioned features and more, which complements the current (like Sanginis) workforce on the field for the development sector – willing, knowledgeable, hardworking, cohesive, and empowered. Giving those wings, to the end user – allowing them to view their efforts to be converted into real-life impact, is the end objective of mForm.

This blog is part of our Tech Tuesdays Series curated for CTO For Non-Profits Community.

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