I’m always on the lookout for more efficient, effective data collection methods — both for my work with Datassist and to recommend to clients and partners. At a recent workshop, a colleague recommended the newly upgraded KoBo Toolbox, a free, open-source data collection tool used by humanitarian aid organizations around the world.
Because many of the questions I get from readers and our newsletter subscribers focus on the search for ways to collect better data with limited resources, it only makes sense to share a bit about KoBo Toolbox with those of you who are unfamiliar with it (and remind those of you who had forgotten about its existence).
Collecting Better Data Faster When It Matters Most
Time is of the essence when addressing a humanitarian crisis — the minutes, hours, and days following a disaster are critical to the survival of vulnerable populations. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative recognized the need for tools to collect better data faster in times of crisis, and KoBo Toolbox was the result. It simplifies the data gathering process to facilitate the quick collection, analysis, and sharing of data, even in situations with:
- Limited access to power supplies (runs on handheld devices)
- Little or no internet access (data can be stored offline and synced when a connection is available)
- A lack of expert staff (the toolbox is simple and straightforward to use, even for the inexperienced)
Using Data to Save Lives
At Datassist, we believe that data has the power to change — and save — lives.
Our team has worked on projects that range from understanding how to best support immigrant children in a local school district to addressing the Ebola crisis, from experimenting with microfinance to lift people out of poverty to highlighting the plight of today’s Syrian refugees.
We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to collect and use data to improve the lives of people around the world. Our free online survey tool (Veracio) was developed with the goal of helping users collect better data that would improve the impact they can have on those who need it most.
But it’s not about what our team is doing to make a difference. Datassist is not affiliated with KoBo Toolbox in any way — we just think it’s a valuable tool for nonprofits, and we want to make sure you know about it.
KoBo Toolbox: What You Need to Know
So what is KoBo Toolbox anyway?
KoBo Toolbox is a free, open-source suite of field data collection tools developed specifically for use in humanitarian crises and other similarly challenging environments. In 2014, the developers teamed with partners at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Rescue Committee for an update to KoBo Toolbox that improved standardization, reliability, and usability to empower users to collect better data in places where it mattered most.
KoBo Toolbox is:
- Free for anyone (there are some usage limits for researchers, but unlimited access is available to humanitarian aid organizations)
- Easy to use — users can easily create surveys using a formbuilder and question library developed to eliminate the need for technical expertise
- Totally compatible with a number of other popular data analysis tools
- Able to securely store data collected either online or offline for use in areas where internet connectivity is not always readily available
- Helping humanitarians, development practitioners, global health workers, and researchers around the world make a difference
Helping Nonprofits Leverage Their Data
At Datassist, we know your team is working hard for meaningful change. So are we. Let our statisticians, data visualization experts, and graphic designers help tell your story in a way that will educate and engage your audience and empower you to keep changing the world.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your project.