Akilimo Dashboard: ACAI develops data management system for field activities and validation of agronomy advice tools
ACAI has developed a dashboard that will be used to curate project activity data and provide a real-time summary of results from field activities as entered by extension agents. The Akilimo Dashboard is a suite of code in R language combined with the Open Data Kit (ODK) data collection tools to form a data processing engine that delivers reports in easy-to-read pdf format, CSV files, and an interactive web interface.
Extension agents (EAs) and national research system agronomists provide agronomy advice to cassava growers, monitor validation activities, and provide data via mobile phones or tablets using the ODK collect app. Data entered by the EAs are processed daily through the R script and organized as output for interpretation customized to the user’s needs.
The dashboard will help ACAI management in monitoring the activities around the validation of the ACAI decision support tools (DSTs). Coordinators of the activities will be able to check the status and get real-time information on planned and ongoing activities in their respective regions at the click of a button. From this information, the project team and interested parties can view the number and details of the households who have received ACAI recommendation for follow-up and further observations.
EAs working with ACAI on validation activities are compensated through a reward system, based on the amount of work done and data delivered. The dashboard will provide a summary of all activities to facilitate payment for the EAs.
The Dashboard is a result of 5-month’s intensive programming by ACAI’s data scientist Meklit Chernet and data analyst Turry Ouma. According to Turry, the Akilimo dashboard provides on-demand access to all-important metrics for a coordinator to manage EAs and households under his supervision. The dashboard will greatly increase the efficiency of accessing and referencing information about ACAI field activities. It provides an unbiased view of EAs performance and offers the coordinators a platform for further dialog and great decision-making. The tool also offers a platform for accountability which increases the performance of the EAs.
“We have aggregated EA data into a single interface thereby increasing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and speed of generating research data,” says Turry.
The tool is interactive and versatile, it offers the user a dynamic experience through filtering data, interacting with plots to see changes over time. The tool can be customized for use in other projects by changing the variables of the significant entries that have an impact on the indicators of the project progress and regular activities in general. ACAI will further develop the dashboard as a standalone application, complemented by a training module to allow new partners to test the ACAI DSTs. Through this process, new and valuable data is delivered to further improve the DSTs.