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The Pitch: DonkeyWorks Survey Platform, Assessing Development Interventions

Blog Post created by NASSCOM Community on Aug 30, 2017

Most of us won't expect anything new and exciting to be happening in surveys! Apart from UX and cosmetic changes, there was not much that technology has contributed to the field. Or, so we thought until we got chatting with the founders of DonekyWorks. If you have any queries or partnership requests, we have Co-founders Shashank Mehra and Divye Khanna with us.   Read on: 

 

How did the idea of DonkeyWorks come about?

 

Divye, who conceptualized DonkeyWorks Survey Platform, is a country planner by education and profession. As part of his educational & professional journey he conducted many field based interview surveys. Invariably these surveys involved writing data on reams of paper and then feeding the same data into spreadsheets for analysis. Coupled with that, if there were multiple enumerators involved in conducting surveys, data entry task gets further complicated with data quality and consistency issues. The process of arriving at a clean record of data, often entailed a lot of redundant & avoidable work that Divye liked to refer to as, well, donkeywork. To overcome this, Divye thought of a web-cum-mobile software that would allow survey managers to design survey forms on web and collect answers to these survey forms on mobile phone in the field. Provision was made to ensure that mobile app could be used irrespective of Internet connectivity.

 

Aren’t there already a plethora of Survey Products?

 

That’s true but the stage at which the platform currently is, has been largely influenced by platform’s existing users. Clearly the existing clients didn’t find an off the shelf product for their needs, and so were willing to task a start-up to develop a product. After reaching out to a few organizations who would undertake market research, town planning, property surveys etc. we found our sweet spot with organizations involved in social development work.

Usually the social development programs are spread over 2-5 years, for meaningful benefits to be visible. Such programs often involve tracking the progress made my beneficiary’s with respect to various interventions. Tracking of beneficiaries is done to ensure that beneficiaries stand optimally benefited and also to take corrective steps wherever needed. In addition, it’s also pertinent that relevant information is timely disseminated to relevant beneficiaries. So the survey platform went a few steps ahead from merely being a platform for recording data. The platform incorporated cohort management features that enabled social workers to readily access the beneficiary’s past data and set alerts. These new features aided the social workers to render personalized and timely counseling to beneficiaries.

 

Use case of Child & Maternal Health Care Program

 

The platform has been used to collect data about 5000 plus mother and children and to educate them on good nutritional & family planning practices. As part of this program, the field workers would register the beneficiary woman on the mobile app, and depending upon whether the woman is pregnant/new mother, the platform would automatically schedule the dates of her Antenatal or Postnatal check-ups. Before every check-up date, platform generates an alerts. Subsequently on every check-up a woman’s vital parameters are recorded. The platform offers the health workers easy access to woman’s past and current parameters to render appropriate counseling. In case of infants as well, the platform auto-schedules the dates of the recommended immunizations that a child should undergo for first 3 years of his life. And before every immunization date, alerts are generated to ensure the child gets timely vaccinations. In addition to this we also incorporated WHO malnutrition chart that would indicate what’s the current nutritional status of the child according to child’s weight and date of birth. Earlier the health workers would resort to referring to physical charts to determine a child’s grade. This feature coupled with tracking, helps the health workers identify children who are in immediate need of medical or nutritional intervention. In the end, the program managers, on the basis of tracking can, on the fly, make quick impact assessment reports on how many beneficiaries have been positively impacted. This entire chain of progress is depicted in the following YouTube video

 

 

 

What use cases, other than health, has the platform been used?

 

Platform’s been used in education and agriculture.

In education the platform’s been used to track the learning curve of a child in various subjects. For instance, usually the English language is introduced at primary grade in rural regions. At this stage the child is hardly able to recognize anything in english. But few months down the line is the child able to recognize letter, further few months down the line could a child read a word, and then a sentence or perhaps even a story. This regular tracking of child’s performance enables the educational counsellors to timely counsel the kids and also to determine the impact of educational interventions, which could free distribution of text books, free audio visual aids etc.

Though the platform’s has so far been been majorly deployed for social development programs and we are committed to reaching out the social sector, we at the same time are confident that the platform is equally good to be deployed for any interview based surveys be they opinion polls, market research, event feedback etc.

 

Is it a B2B or B2C product?

 

In its current avatar DonkeyWorks Survey Platform is a B2B product, yet from the very beginning, a great care has been taken to avoid the usual clutter & complications that accompany B2B products. The platform’s UX is consumer oriented and one could get started using the platform in minutes.

 

Are you looking for partnerships of any sort? If yes, please elaborate the criteria

 

We are actively seeking out organizations that undertake survey or data collection work activities. For the ones uninitiated to the process of using digital tools, the platform would bring benefits right at the outset from virtually ruling out the time lag between data collection and reporting. For the ones who already are experienced in data recording using digital tools, would find the platform’s advanced features for cohort studies & validation useful. Organizations such as Foundations, NGO, International Aid Development Orgs, Government Departments, Skill Development Agencies, CSR Teams, College of Social Work/Universities, Research organizations, Market Research agencies etc would be ideal users of the platform. We also welcome applications from university students to work in this endeavor in the role of tech & business development.

 

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