Background and Story

A week long training of partners from ICS Africa, HOVIC and NIGEE was conducted by the Ushahidi team  in Kisumu from the   4th   to the 7th of November. The training involved a half day feedback session with each partner, where the findings of the information that was collected during each of their needs and user experience assessments was discussed. The needs assessment and user experience  data collected during in-depth interviews with programme staff from each organisation, was thematically categorised to guide discussions around partners data collection processes, their communication procedures with AGYW, their programme implementation and areas of focus and the ways in which the Ushahidi platform can be used to meet their data collection needs. The discussion on partner needs created a space where partners could clarify any changes to their programme implementation and any additional areas they would like Ushahidi to assist them in whereas for the Ushahidi team, it allowed for a deeper understanding of each project and partner platform needs.

The discussion on partner needs paved the way for the second session of the training, which  involved developing key areas of data collection that each partner would like to utilise the ushahidi platform for. Additionally, we developed key questions and thematic areas of interest that partners would like to gather information, from their target AGWY.  

We gathered important insight on the areas of focus that partners were interested in and the kind of information they would like to collect from their Rights Holders. For NIGEE gathering insights on the progress of their AGYW once they have been placed into employment is one area of importance. HOVIC staff expressed their interest in gathering information on the training areas that their AGYW are interested in and their perceptions of those less traditional areas of training for girls such as mechanics.  For ICS, one of the key areas of focus that they felt the Ushahidi platform can assist with, is collecting information on AGYW knowledge and attitude change around HIV/AIDS related information post training. 

The second day of training was more technical and practical and required for partners to go through a step by step guide on how to use the platform. The Ushahidi staff including the development, product, design, M & E, and PEO’s took on a participatory approach to enhancing partner understanding of how to set up each of their customised Ushahidi deployments, how to allocate roles and responsibilities for each of their staff, how to design surveys, how to structure feedback on the platform and how to set up SMS to send through frontlineSMS. The training session was very practical and required immense engagement from Partner staff.

At the end of the partner training sessions, we were able to complete getting up the deployment for all the partners and had designed draft surveys for data collection.

An added bonus to our trip to Kisumu, was the opportunity to meet the Siaya county government health department staff. The meeting with the County gave us the space  to showcase the Ushahidi platform and the opportunities that a partnership with Ushahidi could harvest. We were able to discuss  how the data that the County gathers using the DHIS2, can be supplemented by the rich qualitative data that could be collected through the Ushahidi platform. 


Outcomes

The partner trainings allowed us to clarify partner data needs and how the platform can be customised to meet those needs. We were able to complete setting up all three deployments for ICS, NIGEE and HOVIC. We were successful in developing and designing draft surveys around key areas of data collection for each partner and we are prepared to begin sending out initial messages to their target AGYW in January of 2018. Each Partner also went through a detailed guide on how to use the platform and how FrontlineSMS works.  For the Ushahidi team, we were able to clarify the AGYW databases that each partner has, the availability on unavailability of AGYW contact details, the data storage processes of each partner and the fixes to the platform that are needed to improve partners user experience.

At the end of the training session with Partners, we gathered information on their perceptions of the training that we had delivered. Over 90% of partners felt that the training session was beneficial to them and that the platform would be useful in collecting information from more of their AGYW without the time constraints and in collecting critical feedback that will assist in improving project implementation. It was highlighted that, the allocation of roles on the platform and the responsibilities for each of those roles, will be crucial in determining how well the platform will work for each organisation. Almost all the Partners felt that they would have benefited from a longer training session on how to use the platform.

When asked what areas of the platform they felt they needed further training in, Partners listed a range of topics including structuring posts, how to shorten SMS, how to analyse data coming in from the platform and how the platform works with social media platforms (See link for partner feedback:https://docs.google.com/a/ushahidi.com/spreadsheets/d/1SMmo2Y4JAK9I9LOVC1K8p5ajTmL601EYLH103CzbH8I/edit?usp=sharing).

 “How the platform is able to interact with other media platforms such as twitter and facebook Screen reader support enabled (Kisumu Partner feedback, November 2017).”

The meeting with the Siaya  County Government, led to an initial agreement on a follow up meeting to discuss the County data needs and how Ushahidi can address those needs better in 2018.