Blog

From squirrels to SurveyCTO

In this week’s Terms of Reference podcast by Aidpreneur, Dobility founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Robert tells the SurveyCTO origin story (fun fact: it involves squirrels), discusses why he founded Dobility as a for-profit company, and provides a critical analysis of the development landscape.

Integrating immigrants in Chile

During the past few years, Chile has seen a marked increase in the number of immigrants entering the country, many of whom are seeking better economic conditions. Public policy has not kept pace with the complex realities on the ground; as such, the J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (J-PAL LAC) sees a critical role for the generation of evidence than can inform policy and programming. We connected with J-PAL LAC’s Constanza Palacios to learn more about one of their current projects, “Integration of migrants in Chile: the impact of networking.”

We’re hiring! Customer, technical, and training support specialists

Here at Dobility, we are committed to exceptional support for SurveyCTO users. To that end, we are looking for two energetic and entrepreneurial individuals to join our efforts to grow our business and achieve our social mission. Although we are a small, lean, and early-stage social enterprise, our product, SurveyCTO, has already been used by hundreds of teams in over 50 countries, and is growing rapidly.

Launch party photos

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for the Dobility India launch party in Cambridge. It was great to see familiar faces and make new friends in the social impact and technology world. As Chris said in his remarks, we wouldn’t be here without you, our amazing community of supporters and users!

Survey design and lessons from India

Sumeet Patil is the Research Director at NEERMAN, an impact evaluation and policy research organization based in Mumbai that works in water and sanitation, environmental health, agriculture, energy, and disaster management. Sumeet oversees research study design, quality control, data analysis, and publishing, and he leads strategic business development for the organization. We asked Sumeet to tell us about a few recent projects, how he uses SurveyCTO, and why he recommends transitioning away from paper-based surveys.

Small data, big impact: Panel and launch party

Please join Dobility India for a panel discussion and party in celebration of our India launch. We will be discussing “Small data, big impact: Innovations and best practices in high-quality data collection” with local and global experts as we contribute to building a stronger community of organizations and individuals collecting quality data.

Evaluating girls’ education with Social Impact

How do you encourage girls to enroll in school and engage them sufficiently so they continue their education? We asked Woubedle Alemayehu, the senior program manager in the impact evaluation unit at Social Impact, to tell us more about the evaluation for the Discovery Learning Alliance Discovery Girls Education Project she’s leading in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Data quality and measurement: A call to action

The true front line for data quality – the place where the battle for data accuracy is often won or lost – is the point of original data collection. This is the reason why we have been focusing our SurveyCTO efforts on how to help our users collect higher-quality data, and the reason why we’re painfully aware of the so many ways that we and our users could do better.

Announcing our free Community edition

Today I’m thrilled to announce Dobility’s launch of a free “Community” edition of SurveyCTO. This free edition is designed to enable smaller non-profits, researchers, students, and other small-scale users to collect better data in the field. In tandem with our new online form designer, it will enable new users to easily get started with digital data collection, regardless of their budget or technical skill set. We hope that it will deepen our social impact and expand global support for best practices in data collection.

Press release: Dobility launches free Community edition of SurveyCTO

Cambridge, MA – May 17, 2016 – In a move that deepens its social impact and expands global support for best practices in data collection, Dobility today announced the launch of a free “Community” edition of SurveyCTO to enable NGOs, non-profits, researchers, students, and other small-scale users to collect better data in the field. To support its growing user base in South Asia, Dobility also opened an India subsidiary this month.

Improving urban sanitation in West Africa

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a research and policy non-profit, has been studying how market interventions can improve access to sanitation around the world. To learn more about the latest developments in West Africa and how IPA is using SurveyCTO in the field, we connected with Shoshana Griffith, who manages multiple IPA urban sanitation projects in the region.

Financial Coaching in Peru

How do you develop a successful financial coaching program? Jonathan Rollins, a Senior Research Associate with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), is working with IPA partners to design, build, implement, and test a financial coaching program in Peru that consolidates sector- and context-specific knowledge with academic research and industry best practices. We asked Jonathan to describe his work and how his project is using SurveyCTO as a client management tool.

How to become a Maximum Diva in Zambia

How do you improve access to family planning resources and reduce rates of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa? In Zambia, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) researchers are studying the mass distribution and marketing campaign for the new Maximum Diva Woman’s Condom to help answer these questions. We connected with Jessie Pinchoff, one of the principal investigators (PI’s) on the project, to learn more about Maximum Diva (Ed. Note: best product name ever), how IPA is structuring their research, and how SurveyCTO is being used to support IPA’s work.

Providing essential medicines with the Clinton Health Access Initiative

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a long-time SurveyCTO user, works with governments and NGOs to identify and tackle many of the largest barriers to effective treatment and care for diarrhea, AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases. We reached out to Shreya Agrawal, Program Manager for Country Support in the Essential Medicines Program, to learn more about her work and how her team is using SurveyCTO in the field.

Announcing Dobility India

I’m excited to announce Dobility India Pvt. Ltd., the new home of SurveyCTO in South Asia. Based in Ahmedabad and led by Maulik Chauhan, Dobility India will champion and support the use of SurveyCTO throughout South Asia, focusing in particular on opportunities to increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of data-collection in India’s public, nonprofit, academic, and other research sectors.

The shrinking worlds of adolescent girls

One of the research projects we’re watching closely is the Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) based out of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We asked GEAS Senior Research Program Coordinator Lydia Animosa, MSPH, about what they’ve learned so far about early adolescence from their 15 study sites around the world and if they have any lessons for researchers embarking on complex, multi-year studies.

Going digital at Brown University

In the past few months, we’ve been developing our online simulation toolkit so that faculty can digitize their public policy simulations. We checked in with Joshua Yardley about his experience using SurveyCTO to run a pandemic simulation in the “Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis” course he teaches at Brown University and the opportunities he sees for using online simulations in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

From online simulation to classroom discussion

After a successful pilot of a pandemic simulation using SurveyCTO earlier this year, members of our team had the pleasure of participating in its implementation as part of the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) module “Fundamentals of Policy Analysis and Decision Making,” a required course for 250 Masters in Public Policy students.

Save the date! Join us at HumTech2016

This year, join SurveyCTO from June 7-9 at HumTech2016, the annual conference that brings “together scientists, engineers, technologists and policymakers from across academic, government, industry and non-government organizations to discuss, share and promote current research and recent accomplishments across all aspects of technology, from science to systems, that have a global humanitarian impact.”

Survey Design for Quality Data – Part 2

Let’s pick up where we left off in Part 1 of our survey design for quality data series, which was inspired by Dobility founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Robert’s presentation in the TechChange course “Technology for Data Collection and Survey Design.” Lesson 1 focused on designing your survey with empathy for field staff and respondents. Lesson 2 highlighted SurveyCTO tools for building in relevance and constraints. With Lesson 3, we’ll jump into a number of ways that SurveyCTO enables you to automate monitoring and workflow.