To track project activities and implementation, a mobile web-based platform designed to collect real-time, geo-tagged data about farmers, farmland, livestock, on-field interventions, and other key indicators of agricultural research and extension was rolled out for use by AVISA project’s national partners in 7 countries.
“The MLE [Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation] tool MEASURE (Monitoring and Evaluation of Agri-Science Uptake in Research & Extension) is not just for survey/data collection, but also a management, insights and reporting tool. On the platform, activity owners can create data collection templates online. It allows users to save data and syncs automatically to create reports with enhanced visualization in the form of dashboards and graphs,” said Mr Satish Nagaraji, ICRISAT Senior Manager – Digital Agriculture (M&E and Tools). Learning from challenges faced in the Tropical Legumes project, a modern version of the MLE platform was created for the AVISA project, he said. The tool was co-developed by ICRISAT and VERDENTUM.
Dr Geoffrey Muricho, ICRISAT MLE Specialist, reminded the participants about the primary outcomes of the project namely, breeding, data and bioinformatics, gender and socioeconomics, seed systems, and project management. He added that the MLE plan will use Theory of Change; Key Performance Indicators; data collection, management, analysis, interpretation and reporting; and reflection and drawing of lessons (learning).
The tool was demonstrated to partners and changes were made, where necessary, according to the partners’ needs and available resources. The teams from ESA and WCA also appointed MLE focal persons for each crop in each country. AVISA focuses on sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut, common bean and cowpea in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.
Mr Joseph Minja, a groundnut breeder from TARI-Naliendele said, “MEASURE is a good tool for management, reporting and for collection and sharing data. It is time-saving too. In the past, it would take months just searching for data from individual files. It required a lot of paperwork and data accuracy would often be compromised.”
The roll-out training in Arusha, Tanzania from 3-4 September was hosted by Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) for partners in East and Southern Africa. The training from 9-10 September in Accra-Ghana for West and Central Africa (WCA) partners was hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research—Savanna Agricultural Research Institute. The training workshops were organized by ICRISAT and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.