Developing a Data Collection Plan
The plan should be designed in the field and reflect the cultural differences, program objectives and operating conditions that have an impact on local management “realities.”
This has to do with how the information is to be used and by whom. Data has no intrinsic value unless it can be used to achieve some end. Do not collect data without specifying the action system it will serve. If people keep reporting information and never see any results, they will begin to lose trust.
The important test questions are:
Monitors should have a standardized CARE format to capture all necessary information. Suggestions are provided below. The information should be mostly objective and easily quantifiable, such as physical counts, document verification, the absence or presence of storage and distribution materials.
Monitoring staff should not be required to perform complex calculations, since errors could lead to information distortions. Some subjective observations and recommendations are an important link for project management to field conditions and operations, and space for such should be provided on standard formats. However, subjective data should be limited to the degree possible.
Examples of Subjective and Objective QuestionsSubjective Objective
Field monitors must be able to trace all transactions of food movement from primary and secondary warehouses to the beneficiaries, and validate Documented information on distributions, inventory, accounting, and the identity and eligibility of recipients. Monitors must periodically witness actual food distributions for propriety, actual ration size distributed and inspection of storage areas.
Determine the percentage of sites that are operating acceptably and the percentage operating unacceptably, according to the sample.
Compare the results of the sample with the data from regular site reporting. Look for discrepancies.
Suggested Information to Collect
Whenever possible, monitors should select a sample of beneficiaries to interview. The following are some questions that monitors can ask:
The following questions can be included on a monitoring form.
Identify distribution days from the records and confirm through interviews with beneficiaries that feeding actually occurred.
Field monitors should get the signature of the person responsible for the distribution site indicating agreement with the physical inventory.
If sites are selling or giving away empty bags or containers, are they following CARE procedures?
If bags or containers are being sold, how much money is being collected, how is it being recorded, what is being done with the money, are reports going to CARE?
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