Data for Communities Program

May 22, 2012 by webmaster

In the course of our work, we’ve met a growing number of inspiring individuals and organizations working hard to improve lives and communities around the world.

Almost all are frustrated with data - they rely on timely and accurate information but hate having to divert precious resources away from their direct services towards data entry.  Often they can’t get data back as quickly as they need it, and may be disappointed with the accuracy once they do.

Community health workers making rounds (and our co-founder Kuang tagging along). Kibiti, Tanzania, 2008.

We know we can help them get the high-quality data they need quickly, freeing up their time and money for more meaningful work. In the couple months we’ve been publically available, we’re already helping organizations monitor vaccine distribution to children in Malawi, and measure the efficacy of agriculture improvements in Ghana. During our pilot, we digitized almost 40,000 pages of a Malian electoral participation survey.

At the same time, we realize that even Captricity’s low fee may be prohibitive to some organizations. We hope to eventually be able to provide our services free of charge for all such work, but for the time being, we are going to give what we can to the organizations who will put our service to the best use. Captricity was born out of research begun in a Ugandan health clinic, and our goal has always been for this service to support the work of those who need it the most.

We are thus happy to announce our “Data for Communities” program. Applications for our first round closed on July 15th. We will likely run this program in the future, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, congratulations to our winners of July 2012's Data for Communities Program: Cradles to Crayons, Fonkoze, and the Wilbraham Visioning Project.

Cradles to Crayons - Based in Boston and Philadelphia, Cradles to Crayons collects items that children need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They distribute these items to disadvantaged children through a collaborative network of social service agencies and school partners. Cradles to Crayons uses donor tax receipts to collect information on donors and inventory. However, “Tax receipts in paper format are useless to us – we are unable to aggregate data, run reports, or reach out to donors.” They will use Captricity to digitize the data and enter it into their Salesforcedatabase, where it can be put to use to help them better manage inventory, encourage donations, and better manage their life-changing work.

Fonkoze - Fonkoze is Haiti’s largest microfinance institution, offering a full range of financial, education, and health services to rural poor. They serve over 60,000 women borrowers and their children, along with 300,000 depositors. In collaboration with researchers from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Fonkoze is running a pilot program to deliver micronutrient powders to infants and children under age 5. To manage, monitor and evaluate the pilot, they collect data using a number of forms filled out by hand in Haitian Creole. Captricity will digitize those forms to provide the high-quality data Fonkoze needs to improve and expand this life-saving program.

Wilbraham Visioning Project - As Wilbraham, MA approaches its 250th anniversary, the town Planning Board asked an all volunteer “Vision Task Force” to gather data to guide it in updating its half-century-old master plan.  To accomplish this goal, the  Task Force invited citizens to complete a Survey Monkey questionnaire. Realizing that many of their target population would not complete the questionnaire online, they printed the PDF and distributed it by hand. Captricity will help them digitize the paper results. The Vision Task Force turned to Captricity because “Using Captricity will enable us to combine manually submitted survey results with electronically submitted survey results to get a more comprehensive picture of the town’s interests and needs and ideas.”  We’re excited to help Wilbraham’s volunteers make quantitatively backed decisions about the future of their beloved town.

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