Finding the excluded
The current methods for identifying the excluded are based on surveys that require sending enumerators to the field and gathering data through going from door to door. Because this requires a lot of manpower, time and money it is a step that is often neglected. This is one of the reasons why the limited out-reach of interventions to the extreme poor is often only recognized when programs are in an advanced stage, if at all.
The solution we developed to solve this problem is based on mobile phone technology that makes it possible to gather citizen-generated data on exclusion. The technology we use is called Verboice. Verboice is a free and open-source tool that makes it possible to conduct a survey through inviting mobile phone owners to call a dedicated phone number to answer questions with their phone keypad. The information from thousands of callers can be received simultaneously and the data are automatically stored in the cloud. Data can be downloaded and analysed immediately. This can save a lot of money and time compared to conventional survey methods. A prototype of the Exclusion Radar was successfully tested in the Netherlands.
Karuna Foundation Nepal is now preparing to develop a pilot version of the Exclusion Radar in Nepal. Recently an important milestone was achieved with successfully connecting Verboice to a SIP number (SIP= Session Initiation Protocol) which makes it possible to process calls from many callers simultaneously.
Next steps include developing a concise questionnaire that can be captured in automated voice call and administering the survey through using different methods for motivation people to call and contribute data.
The Karuna Foundation Nepal intends to use the Exclusion Radar for their Inspire2Care programme. The Inspire2Care approach was developed by the Karuna Foundation with the aim to prevent disabilities and to improve the lives of children with disabilities. The Inspire2Care approach mobilises local leaders, health workers and rehabilitation workers to engage in a whole range of activities that are all geared to the prevention of disabilities, rehabilitation and supporting children with disabilities.
An important element of the Inspire2Care model is the identification of children with a disability that require support. This target group is identified in two steps. The first step is a preliminary assessment which consists of a survey that is conducted through sending enumerators from house-to-house with a questionnaire to identify households with one or more children with disabilities that may be in need to programme support. Experience has shown that in approximately a fifth of the households there is a child with a disability. These households are approached in the second step with another more detailed survey, to determine the extent and type of support needed. This second step is conducted as part of developing the annual plan of the basis of which an agreement is signed with the local leaders.
The Exclusion Radar may be an opportunity to conduct the identification of children with a disability in a faster and more cost-effective way.