Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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Humanitarian Information

Providing life-saving information and establishing two-way communication flows with communities affected by crises.

The field testing is complete

We are in our last day in Dadaab; just a few more hours until our release from the barbed-wire gates of the DMO compound back into the world.

There is no place like home

We had an unexpected wrinkle with one of the survey questions, a wrinkle that brings to the surface some of the basic challenges that always underlie the process of doing surveys. The question was meant to gather some quick background information - a necessary quick preliminary step before moving on to the real heart of the survey - which assesses people’s information needs.

Day 2 of data collection, A recap of the last week

So we have been here a week already, in the Dadaab DMO. Until next Monday, we are here. The DMO is basically a compound full of compounds, or a fortress for compounds, if you like. There is a UNHCR compound and then NGO compounds – among the biggest NGOs here are CARE, Save the Children, IOM, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and the Danish Refugee Council.

The imperfection of pilots

Dadaab was chosen as the location for the pilot of the new toolkit precisely so that the kinks in the toolkit could be worked out in a situation that is similar to, but less dire than, the immediate aftermath of a humanitarian crisis. If anything goes majorly wrong, our troubleshooting will not impede anyone’s ability to respond to a crisis.

Open Sesame does not work for open data

The buzz around open data has begun to subside. Those voicing caution about both the immediate impact and long-term success and utility of open data initiatives are being heard and (hopefully) heeded.  Even as everything from multilateral data dumps to grassroots data initiatives take off, open data evangelists discover that creating a database does not automatically lead to accessibility, participation or transparency.


FormHub is a data collection tool for mobile phones. The system allows people to create paper based forms on an excell spreadsheet and then transfer them into a mobile phone. Enumerators are then able to collected data directly on their mobile phones and send it to a central repository system that will then aggregate the data together, ready to be analyzed. The software allows for people to author surveys quickly and easily in Excel and have instant access on their Android phone.

Tuning up the humanitarian survey instrument

Since late November, we have been refining the questionnaire for the Humanitarian Information Needs Assessment (HINA) survey. After pilot testing and revisions, this will become the standard survey that Internews deploys in all of our humanitarian work.

Humanitarian Data Toolkit: the initial research design

As we always do, the Internews Center for Innovation and Learning is also designing a research component for our pilot project, the "Humanitarian Data Toolkit." This research project is quite complex, as it is necessary to understand the actual efficacy of the toolkit we are designing, key lessons learned, suggestions for next steps, and more.

Research Elements

There are two main categories of research inputs for the HDT pilot: 


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