Survey transcription to support Fonkoze's life-saving work

July 27, 2012 by Andrea Spillmann

Fonkoze Health Project Officer Dr. Wesly Elize helps distribute micronutrient powder to the institution's clients in Lenbe.

Fonkoze is a national development institution which supports Haitian women “climb the staircase out of poverty.” While financial services are the core component of their range of integrated services, the institution has evolved to take a more holistic approach to alleviate poverty.

Fonkoze recognizes that their 250,000 depositors and 60,000 borrowers often cannot access high quality, affordable health for themselves and their children. In fact, one-third of preschool aged children in Haiti suffer from vitamin A deficiency (WHO, 2009), while 65% of children under-five and 73% of children 6–24 months in Haiti are anemic (Haiti DHS, 2005). These deficiencies, which can lead to blindness and a host of illnesses and even death, are easily treated with Micronutrient powders. Recommended by the World Health Organization, the powders look like ice cream sprinkles but contain essential vitamins and minerals. They are one of the most cost-effective and high-impact interventions to prevent illness and death in infants and children, but many never receive them.

In partnership with Vitamin Angels and in consultation with researchers at Columbia University, Fonkoze is working to change that. Their pilot initiative leverages the institution’s extensive community network to distribute these life-saving powders in northern Haiti, at Fonkoze’s Lenbe branch. In addition, they will educate parents and community-members through participatory group learning, using peer-elected borrowers as educators and promotors. Fonkoze’s existing network and experience in education and social marketing to rural Haitian families make it a perfect leader for this initiative.

If successful, Fonkoze hopes to scale this model across all villages where they work (shown here).

Ideally, this pilot will be just the first step in developing a large-scale program to distribute a range of much-needed health and medical supplies. If successful, it can provide a model for other programs around the world. Microfinance institutions currently reach an estimated 34 million very poor households and 155 million households overall (WHO, 2010). There is thus enormous potential for their use as a vast and cost-effective platform for the delivery of proven health interventions through their community-based networks, trusted brands, and physical infrastructure.

However, for this program to scale up and be a model for others, it must be proven to work well. Fonkoze and its partners are thus implementing a rigorous research framework to monitor and evaluate the pilot. Using baseline and follow-up paper surveys, they will collect the data they need to estimate health impact and collect ongoing feedback. Captricity will enter the results of these surveys for them, providing digital data in almost real-time so that they can quickly make adjustments as needed and estimate the overall effect of their program. We hope the time and money they save using Captricity' for survey transcription will allow them to more quickly and efficiently provide life-saving supplies to even more families.

It is an honor for us to work with Fonkoze, and we look forward to following and updating you on this exciting project as it moves forward.


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