Piloting Crowdsourcing Platform for Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects: Harnessing Massive Open Online Deliberation (MOOD)

Piloting Crowdsourcing Platform for Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects: Harnessing Massive Open Online Deliberation (MOOD)

Camilius A. Sanga (Department of Informatics, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Neema Nicodemus Lyimo (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Kadeghe G. Fue (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Joseph Philipo Telemala (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Fredy Kilima (Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), Tanzania) and Maulilio John Kipanyula (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4200-1.ch010

Abstract

Crowdsourcing can be viewed as a positive catalyst for effective results in many sectors of the economy including business, governance, agriculture, and health to name a few because it provides unlimited opportunities to people to share information among societies around the world. Despite some considerable efforts to adopt this concept in Tanzania, less has been done on its implementation in monitoring and evaluation of projects. This chapter proposes the development of a crowdsourcing platform as an essential step towards combating corruption, misuse, and embezzlement of funds. The developed crowdsourcing platform for monitoring and evaluation provides an up-to-date status of projects based on key indicators set and from such information, any member in particular organization can monitor and evaluate the progress of a given project. Results of this study show that the platform promotes transparency, collaboration, accountability, and has potential to motivate different actors or stakeholders in monitoring projects funded by government and donors.
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Introduction

This chapter proposes and explores the application of crowdsourcing in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of projects. It begins by analyzing different ways of involving the crowd in the monitoring process such as through the use of shared spreadsheet, two-way conversation, use of mobile phone and web based systems. It demonstrates how crowdsourcing can be incorporated in a web-based M&E system, followed by a discussion of the preliminary results.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) has been a key component of successful implementation of research and/development projects. Some M&E systems have integrated information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, web applications that allow stakeholders to be effectively involved in monitoring and evaluation have generally been rare. Consequently, stakeholders’ have mainly been consulted during periodic M&E leading to limited sharing of knowledge and experiences with the monitoring and evaluation experts and scope for accommodating new ideas and timely adjustments of project activities and implementation schedules. To date there are several participatory web-based ICT monitoring and evaluation systems that can be customized to address these concerns. Web 2.0 applications, in particular, allows prompt sharing of development results and offers new ways for timely measurement of projects’ results and outcomes. Web 2.0 applications that have so far been adapted in monitoring and evaluation can be categorized into three forms as detailed in below:

Shared Spreadsheet

Shared spreadsheet allows data to be combined in an online central spreadsheet in which the performance indicators are specified to allow participatory evaluation by various stakeholders through on-line access. Web4forDev article on 1Monitoring and Evaluation gives an example of Google Doc as a web 2.0 tool used in monitoring and evaluation. The articles hinges on successful cases of blog-based participatory Monitoring and Evaluation systems in South Africa popularized as “I collaborate, e-collaborate and we collaborate2”. The online document has a worksheet with operational definitions of indicators used; a worksheet where overall target and baseline figures are filled on a monthly basis by project staff in different locations. Note that the 6-monthly totals are automatically calculated and compared with 6-monthly or annual plans and the design allows for graphical representations of key results as a ratio of achievements to targets over time.

Two-Way Conversation

The two-way conversation Monitoring and Evaluation systems are designed for effective assessment of indicators such poverty which tend to be an outcome of multi-dimensional phenomena and hard to quantify using a single quantitative measure. In this context qualitative methods are perceived to be more appropriate to arrive at ideal composite measures (e.g. indices) of a variable of interest. The most recent applications of this method entail social media or user generated content to account for perspectives of different stakeholders on project issues. Through these systems, donors can read directly the success or failure of a respective project. For example, the global crowdsourcing organization called Globalgiving3 connects nonprofits, donors, and companies from nearly all over the world to mobilize funds for the needy. These entities can potentially gauge the outcomes and impacts of their endeavors from wider applications of Monitoring and Evaluation systems that uphold the two-way conversation approach.

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