For the past 15 years, we have been implementing projects from Preconception-to-Career across education, healthcare, sustainable livelihoods and youth development in four villages. Since January, our Nomakhayas have provided one-on-one HIV education to 568 community members, our iiTablet Tshomiz programme has provided two hours of extra learning in Maths and English to 1,192 learners each week, and now 81% of children in our community are on track with their immunisations.

We can tell you this with certainty because, since 2020, we have been building a robust and comprehensive data management system that gives us accurate numbers to report. Our data management system includes data capture, cleaning, storage, analysis and visualisation. 

The system aims to understand how effective our projects are, and ultimately measure the long-term impact of our Preconception-to-Career approach. This crucial data allows us to measure our project’s outcomes, identify challenges or weak points that may have gone unnoticed, monitor work performance, accurately visualise and report our impact to our supporters, and set up a sentinel site to inform programmes and policies in greater geographic areas. 

Dali Maleyile, one of our Data Capturers, inputting data into our Sharepoint.
ECD teachers during training on how to use ECD data capture tool.

Integrating the vast amounts of data we have collected over the years has been a massive undertaking. Building the dashboard has required lots of strategising on how to connect all of the dots, with unexpected challenges that inevitably come up. For example, using a unique identifier for each person in the system seems straightforward; use a person’s ID number, right? However, many people are wary of readily giving out their ID numbers, so we had to use our Nomakhayas, who have close and trusting relationships with their patients, to collect them from everyone. 

Furthermore, because of unreliable network, limited electricity and low digital literacy, we need to design unique data capture tools for each project that are intuitive to use, and provide ongoing support and training for any issues that may arise.

We are still busy building our data management system for all of our projects, but we have already gained valuable insight. We hope that over time, once our system is finished and running smoothly, we can use our longitudinal data for broader impact. We are well placed to harness our deep community embeddedness, experience, and project data outcomes to innovate and unlock new approaches for development interventions.

See our data in action: Quarter One (Jan-March) Health Programme Insights