ICT, Monitoring and Research Sessions at the SBCC Summit

researchebolaOver a year ago, at the height of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, it was extremely difficult to get information about the situation on the ground, especially in remote areas of the country. We not only needed reliable data, but we needed it quickly. Given the situation, it wasn’t safe, nor was it feasible to send interviewers into the field. So, HC3 teamed with GeoPoll – an SMS-based survey platform – to push an SMS survey to individuals nationwide. It was amazing that within a week of launching the survey, we had results in our hands! What’s more, the respondent pool reflected a sample that aligned with national statistics. In other words, it wasn’t like when we use SMS to get information from people texting in to a short code; it was a survey with a defined geographic and demographic sample. For research purposes, this was important.

Though there are limitations to using SMS for surveys, this type of methodology proved extremely useful given the situation at hand. It also got the wheels turning for such surveys in future work, especially using SMS surveys for monitoring purposes. I’m excited to talking about this work during A Marvelous Mix of Methods, while also learning about other methods used in additional health fields in this “grab bag” session!

Ebola: In the Mind of an Epidemic will showcase the work of our colleagues who were on the frontlines during Liberia’s Ebola outbreak. I think this will be a great opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the past year’s work in “Ebola-land.” It has been such a whirlwind; with such a huge crisis, HC3 had to work fast and furiously. It will be refreshing to take a breath and take in what we have learned so far, and what we have yet to learn.

The Summit will be a great opportunity to learn about different research, monitoring and evaluation (RM&E) methods applied specifically to SBCC. Oftentimes, we take what we learn from other arenas and have to imagine how these methodologies could apply to our own SBCC work. The Summit is a chance to see SBCC research in action; that is – why, where and how RM&E methodologies have been applied specifically to SBCC.

I am particularly looking forward to RM&E efforts integrating newer and mobile technologies. I know there will be a host of ICT-related events, including those showcasing the use of SMS and IVR methods. It will be great to see how ICTs have been used for monitoring purposes in particular.

Click here for a complete list of research-focused sessions, and be sure to follow Summit updates via #SBCCSummit on Twitter and Facebook.

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