YouthMappers: Kobo Toolbox Aids Agribusiness Collection

 

 

This blog was written by Ebenezer Boateng, Confidence Kpodo and Godfred Eshun Afful, students from the University of Cape Coast chapter of YouthMappers. YouthMappers is a consortium of university chapters dedicated to the use of GIS data to better understand issues in regions of extreme poverty where USAID works. The Soy Innovation Lab (SIL) has collaborated with YouthMappers on a student project to generate geographical information systems (GIS) data on the spatial configuration of key installations within the soybean value chain in and around Kumasi, Ghana. This blog post originally appeared on the SIL's Notes from the Field blog on 23 August 2018. 

 

Over the years, data collection has been a heck of a headache for researchers due to the challenge of developing and deploying survey instruments. Relying on printed sheets has its own challenges ranging from handling of the paper, the need for more writing space and errors emanating from data entry as well as data cleaning. To eradicate error and improve the reliability and accuracy of the data, our YouthMappers chapter used the KoBo Toolbox and KoBo Collect tools in our data collection exercise. The tools made field data collection much more interesting, easier and faster.

 

Kobo Toolbox is a suite of tools for field data collection which can be used with your mobile devices and laptops. It is an open source mobile data collection system. KoBo Toolbox allows one to create a form whiles KoBo Collect allows the use of mobile devices (smart phones) to collect data on or offline. When the team was considering the kind of field work that would be conducted and the kinds of data that would be collected, they concluded that it would be best to use KoBo Toolbox in developing the survey instrument and KoBo Collect for collecting the field data.

 

Out of the 12 students for this project, only 2 had prior knowledge of the KoBo Toolbox. Hence, they took it upon themselves to orient the other team members on this great data collection tool and its features. Having gone through a couple of demonstrations, the team unanimously preferred to use KoBo Toolbox and KoBo Collect due to its ability to overcome the numerous challenges of the paper instrument.

 

As the project required, the data being collected was to help analyze the soybean value chain in Kumasi and the surrounding areas. Here, we collected data on the availability of soybeans, prices of soybean, storage capacities and processing capacity of the processing plants, ability to meet market demand and supply as well as factors that influenced the location of the processing plants. There was even an observational checklist developed with KoBo to help us assess infrastructures such as roads and the use of protective gadgets.

 

Kobo Toolbox mobility was helpful, as it reduced our work of having a number of printed survey instruments and rather allowed us to rely on smart phones. It provided the survey questions in digital form which was simpler to use. The toolbox additional feature of getting coordinates of a location was really helpful in the research. As geographers, location of features is very important to us and this helped us in collecting coordinates of the processing sites visited. Another advantage of the KoBo Toolbox is that it stores the data in such a way that it is readily available for analysis.    

 

The most amazing part of the KoBo Toolbox is its ability to generate descriptive statistics of the field data collected, which is something that isn’t possible with paper and pen data collection. This saved our team a considerable amount of time and data processing resources We transcribed the audio recordings that were collected from survey respondents in the field to provide a more complete picture of our GIS data, including the reasons why the respondents ran their operations as they did, their experiences running their operations at their facilities and more.  

 

KoBo toolbox has the ability to accept questions in any format (figures, written content, ranking options, coordinates, pictures, etc.), it is easier and faster to set up for and collect data from the field, it can readily analyse and generate descriptive statistics from the data, works both on and offline, and can be used to effortlessly share data with others.  KoBo Toolbox has come to stay and removes at least half of the data collection burden of the researchers.

 

We would like to express our appreciation to SIL, USAID and Feed the Future for the opportunity to explore the soybean value chain and conduct fieldwork with KoBo Toolbox.

 

Images:

Top: Students going through an orientation on the KoBo Toolbox. 

Bottom: One of the students collecting data on his smart phone via KoBo Collect app.

---

 

This blog was written by Ebenezer Boateng, Confidence Kpodo and Godfred Eshun Afful, students from the University of Cape Coast chapter of YouthMappers. YouthMappers is a consortium of university chapters dedicated to the use of GIS data to better understand issues in regions of extreme poverty where USAID works. The Soy Innovation Lab (SIL) has collaborated with YouthMappers on a student project to generate geographical information systems (GIS) data on the spatial configuration of key installations within the soybean value chain in and around Kumasi, Ghana. This blog post originally appeared on the SIL's Notes from the Field blog on 23 August 2018. 

Please reload

Recent Posts

November 5, 2019

October 1, 2019

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags