Almost one year into data collection, we are now fairly confident that live voice calls, placed by operators, are a good way to stay in touch with people in the extremely vulnerable communities we work with. Since January 2014, we have been able to conduct monthly rounds of phone surveys typically reaching between half and two-thirds of selected respondents, while collecting data of good quality. However, it’s not yet clear if either IVR or SMS offer the same advantages in our pilot contexts.
In the past week, we finally managed to successfully call a few people in Mugunga 3 camp using an interactive voice response (IVR) system based in our Goma sub-office. People in the camp heard automated questions from WFP on their mobile phones, to which they replied by keying in answers on their touchpads. We have been placing these automated calls using Verboice, InSTEDD’s free and open source IVR software. Verboice runs on a basic laptop connected to a GSM modem.
After three survey rounds in Somalia, the time has come to take a look at results. As in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our operators in Somalia have been conducting live interviews by phone from a call center established in a WFP field office. In Somalia, we ask displaced people living in camps in Central Somalia about their food consumption and the coping strategies they use.
Food consumption score: degradation as the lean season progresses
By introducing mobile phone surveys, the World Food Programme has improved the way it monitors food security in remote areas. Here, WPF food security analyst Jean-Martin Bauer explains the process behind innovating the organisation’s traditional survey approach.
This month, we take a look back at the data we’ve collected so far in Democratic Republic of Congo. We also explain what we’ve done to ensure that people answer our phone surveys. Finally, we provide an update about the start of our interactive voice response calls.
We’re also glad to share a short video clip about Agnes, a resident of Mugunga 3 camp near Goma in the eastern DRC. We have been calling Agnes and people like her every month. The clip gives a good idea of how mVAM is implemented in Mugunga 3.
This month, our blog provides the perspective from the people we call every month in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We realize that we need to understand to what extent our mVAM voice surveys prove to be a user friendly way of collecting data. Jean-Marie and Mireille, our operators in Goma, with Jean-Martin in tow, went to Mugunga 3 camp to obtain feedback from the respondents.
After blogging about the DR Congo in recent months, we're now pleased to provide an update on Somalia. The mVAM mobile phone survey project is underway in central Somalia. Our approach is a bit different from DR Congo. Unlike in DR Congo, where we distributed phones to those we wanted to call, we chose not to do so in Somalia where 70 percent of people have mobile phones which demonstrates a deep rooted cell phone culture.
This post covers the results of our first phone survey rounds in Goma, as well as updates on response rates. Food consuption worsens in Mugunga 3 Camp as assistance is suspended.
The data shows that more households have become food insecure since our baseline survey began in November 2013. The dietary diversity of the households has declined—last November, IDPs were eating maize every day but during this February and March, it was rarely consumed. Furthermore, it appears that most households have switched to cassava.
In February, we completed our first mobile phone survey round in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’ve learned a lot and have a long list of insights to share with you. For now, we will tell you about the process of running our first phone surveys with displaced people living in Mugunga 3 camp.