Map and Track Application for Kenya County Extension Services

Map and Track: A Service-Delivery Audit Application for Kenya County Extension Services


Recording the real time activities of field agents is critical to improving the management of extension services and to providing incentives to improve service delivery. To better monitor service delivery and training, CRS has developed, “Map & Track”, a low-cost application offering easy to use reporting capabilities for field agents to record their activities with farmer groups in real time using Android or iOS mobile devices. The application pulls farmer organization data from Farmbook, linking the data from both systems, and creating a personal and customized platform for the Farmbook program field agent to enter the data, simplifying data management and saving time on data entry. The application includes GEO-spatial representation to map service delivery and links data to business intelligent reporting, allowing it to be analyzed alongside other project data. In future programs, it is envisaged that the farm log option will be directly linked to support payments to field agents, reimbursing travel and per diem costs and providing incentives for service delivery based on performance tracking


Rationale

Kenya MoA mandated that the county extension offices begin adopting e-Extension methods and has since issued 645 computer-modem-smartphone sets to the 47 counties. Meanwhile, the county extension offices do not have access to any e-Extension tools to perform this newly mandated task. CRS visited ten counties to introduce to the county government the Farmbook suite which includes three relevant e-tools—e-Learning, e-Biz, and Map & Track--that can be used for e-Extension. These tools are offered to the counties with the understanding that the counties are to cover all the costs on their side—devices and organizing any training that needs to bring together the agents while CRS would provide the technology and provide technical support during the first year of application.

Of the ten counties visited, eight are interested in e-Learning while all wanted to use Map & Track to help with tracking service deliveries (Table 1). The reason that not all counties are interested in e-Learning is because it involves a great deal more of staff time and monetary investment to bring the staff in from the field five times during a period of one year to be trained in the SMART Skills. All the expenses associated with these training sessions will have to be covered by the counties while CRS will provide the technical trainers. Map & Track would require less input, but it does require smart phones to be supplied by the counties.

Table 1. Of the 10 counties visited, the number interested in e-Learning and Map & Track

# counties interested in e-Learning

# counties interested in M&T

8

10

 

While CRS would like to disseminate an e-tool that facilitates extension service delivery, MEAS’ is also interested in studying the potential impact of using Map & Track to track the service deliveries of the extension agents.  A study is thus designed to compare the service deliveries between the counties which use this tool to track their extension activities with those which continue to use the conventional method of tracking their service deliveries.  The study period will be between November when Map & Track is first installed until Sept 2015, a total of 10 months during this period.

Method

During the visits to the ten counties, the number of the extension agents was assessed.  In the county, the extension agents were housed in four departments which are crops, livestock, fisheries, and veterinarian.  Generally there are more crop agents in each county, thus the staff/client ratio (i.e., one staff serves the number of households) is low.  Livestock situation is the opposite.  While on one hand the number of livestock agents is low, many of the households also have livestock, thus it has the highest staff/client ratio.  There are a total number of 1,879 agents in these ten counties serving a total of more than 2 million households (Table 2).

Table 2.  The inventory of the extension agents in the ten counties visited

County extension agents and service

Crops

Livestock

Fishery

Veterinarian

Total # of agents

Total no HH served

No agents

Staff ratio

No agents

Staff ratio

No agents

Staff ratio

No agents

Staff ratio

1,009

1,297

228

6,647

127

5,076

515

3,105

1,879

2,069,330

 

Though there are nearly 2,000 agents, not all are ready to test the use of Map & Track because it requires a smartphone to use the iFormBuilder platform on which Map & Track operates.  The smartphones available to install and use Map & Track are from four sources: 1) phones issued from the MoA for the purpose of implementing the e-Extension program, 2) phones, along with computers, purchased by the counties to implement the program, 3) phones that the counties have already allocated budget to purchase, and 4) the private phones that are owned by the extension agents who are willing to use them to track their own service delivery (Table 3). The uncertainties are the ‘planned purchases’ since some of these are not yet purchased, though in the budget, it is not certain all will be available by the time of the launch of Map & Track. 

 

Table 3. Smartphones that may be available to install Map & Track

Available smart phones

e-Extension phone

County purchased

Planned purchase

Agents' phones

Total no of phones

150

57

147

264

618

 

Study Design

Sampling

These ten counties will be divided into two groups with five counties in each group.  One group will start using Map & Track in Nov 2014 while the other will wait to start five months later in Apr 2015.  The selection of the two groups could be based on any of a few selection criteria.  One selection criterion could be based on the pairing of the number of phones that will have Map & Track installed; while the other one could be based on the number or agents (Tables 4 & 5).  Ideally, the numbers of agents and the number of agents using Map & Track are the same (or at least comparable), but in this case where they are not, there are pros and cons of each selection criterion. 

Table 4.  Pairing the counties based on the number of phones available.

 

 Counties

# phones

Group A

Kirinyaga

39

Group B

Nakuru

40

 

Group A

Kericho

45

Group B

Trans Nzoia

53

 

Group A

Meru

111

Group B

Kajiando

95

 

Group A

Muranga

134*

Group B

Baringo

16

 

Group A

Embu

22

Group B

West Pokot

23

*There are 103 planned purchases in Muranga. 

Table 5.  Pairing the counties based on the number of agents

 

Counties

# agents

Group A

Embu

270

Group B

Nakuru

300

 

Group A

Meru

216

Group B

Baringo

175

 

Group A

Trans Nzoia

150

Group B

Kajiando

135

 

Group A

Kirinyaga

109

Group B

West Pokot

107

 

Group A

Muranga

65

Group B

Kericho

52

Though both sampling basis has its distinct weakness, the sampling strategy based on the number of available phones has greater merits.  Thus, the selection of two waves of counties will be based on Table 4.

Data collection 

The data that will be collected to examine the impact of the use of Map & Track include the following:

·         # of field visits by each agent

·         # farms reached/serviced

·         # contacts with the farm households

·         ability to document the field work

·         # of service delivered for each category of services

·         # total of visits of each county

The survey instrument will be provided by MEAS and passed on to the MoA which will assist in data collection in three waves: 1) at the first Map & Track installment to collect baseline data from the Group A counties, 2) at the second Map & Track installment to collect baseline data from the Group B counties, and 3) at the project end, should there still be insufficient data to perform impact analysis.

These data will be collected from all ten counties as baseline data prior to the launch of Map & Track for both groups of counties.  Once Map & Track have been launched for the first group (Group A), the data of Group A will be collected and record by this tool; while the data of Group B will continue to rely on the conventional method of self-reporting by the agents.  MEAS may complement this study with a separate assessment to interview the serviced farmers to solicit feedback as a means to verify the validity of the data; but this verification assessment will be outside the scope of this particular proposed study.

Map & Track Reporting

The CRS data architect suggests to start the report structure simple based on the current format, but not to customize the reporting design specifically for this study in the beginning.  The reporting functions can be modified to fit the users’ needs after they have had a period of experience with the tool and its reporting format and may then have specific requirements for the reporting structure that will[1] fit their needs.


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