Published on Data Blog

What do household surveys and project monitoring have in common?

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For verification purposes Survey Solution's picture question allows to document the installation and their new owner.
The implementation and the monitoring of large infrastructure projects is always a challenge. This challenge is even more pronounced, when the beneficiaries are located at the grassroots level. In the case of the Myanmar national electrification project (NEP), the challenge was the implementation and monitoring of around 145,000 households, community centers and schools, which did not have proper access to electricity and are being newly equipped with solar panels under the first contract. The basic information to be collected and monitored include who receives which type of solar PV systems, when, and by which supplier, and whether the users have been satisfactory with the quality of the equipment and installation, etc. The project is expected to eventually benefit 1.2 million households and more than 10,000 villages over 6 years with new electricity services.

Survey Solutions is already well known for its capacity to deal with large scale household surveys with highly complex questionnaires. One of the main strengths of Survey Solutions is its flexibility in designing a questionnaire. Users can easily create complex survey questionnaires through the browser based interface without the use of any complex syntax. For most of the standard survey questionnaires, the provided basic functions are sufficient.

However, it also offers the possibility to modify the questionnaire beyond the basic capabilities, by using the C# programming language. This allows the users to create questionnaires for very specific, non-standard tasks.

Getting back to our introductory question, the answer is: Data. In the case of the Myanmar National Electrification project, a combination of standard and advanced functionalities enabled us to create a set of "smart" questionnaires which in turn enabled the client to monitor the implementation of this large scale infrastructure project, to deal with quality assurance as well as to handle complaint requests.

Figure 1 describes the basic process. The main components of the whole process are the unique identifier for each beneficiary as well as a unique identifier for each part in the used for the installation. The latter is transformed into a barcode, which is attached to the corresponding installation. By using Survey Solutions' barcode question type, these barcodes are captured after the completion of an installation.

This allows us to not only to trace the client and the installation, but to also relate each installed component to the corresponding beneficiaries. After the installation, a pre-specified number of cases is sampled from the installation data, and preloaded to the verification questionnaire. Besides other information the verification questionnaire contains the barcodes from the installation process. The verification agent subsequently scans the barcodes attached to the installation, and will immediately get a warning message if there is any discrepancy. In addition to the verification of the individual components, the agent also verifies the quality of the installation, and captures this information in the questionnaire. In both cases DRD staff checks each questionnaire, and if there are any discrepancies in the data, necessary action needs to be taken.

Figure 1

Figure 2

This is just another example which demonstrates the versatility of the Survey Solutions Survey package and which allows you to go beyond and above the conventional thinking and even improve the effectiveness in monitoring the implementation of large infrastructure projects like the Myanmar NEP.

And as it is always the case with Survey Solutions: By building up local capacities, the client is enabled to conduct this monitoring approach in the future on their own.


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