Increasing the profitability of farmers in Kenya with SNV
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation initiates programmes to alleviate poverty across the globe. Their smart water for agriculture (SWA) programme aims to save water and energy in farming practices across selected counties in Kenya.
Within the smart water for agriculture programme, Akvo supports the SNV Kenya team in using a combination of online tools to communicate, monitor and report on their daily activities. Akvo RSR is used to keep track of the teams’ progress and to generate online reports. Akvo Flow is used to capture the baseline and monitor the programme on key performance indicators, and Akvo Lumen is used to analyse and visualise the captured data.
Above: Torome from Latia Resource Centre, a service provider for smallholder greenhouse growers, leads a training session on best farming practices for tomato production in greenhouses. Tuala, Kenya, August 2017. Photo by Bernard Ndolo.
The smart water for agriculture (SWA) programme, led by SNV Kenya, promotes market-led water management solutions to support 20,000 farmers in five countries to increase their yields without increasing their costs, by making more efficient use of water and energy. In order to monitor and report on the SWA programme, farmers need to be interviewed, activities need to be tracked, and progress needs to be reported, while at the same time adhering to the IATI-standard. In short, at the start of the programme there was a need for a comprehensive technical system that would be able to capture and store all this information.
Before working with Akvo, SNV Kenya was using an internal planning, monitoring and evaluation (PME) system, which was discontinued. The PME team wanted to find a system that could help them to keep track of indicators and results in a user-friendly way. At the same time, due to new donor requirements, there was an urgent need for a system that could generate IATI-compliant reports. Working with Akvo RSR would accommodate both needs. SWA also needed to do a baseline on farmers. Akvo Flow could make the data collection process more efficient by replacing the traditional pen and paper based surveys with a smartphone app.
Akvo has been closely involved in the implementation of the tools within the SWA programme from the very beginning. During the SWA baseline survey, for example, Akvo staff were there to facilitate the data collection process. Furthermore, SNV Kenya and Akvo designed a custom automated report which complies with the IATI standard. To fully integrate Akvo tools in the SWA programme, and to make sure all staff members are comfortable using the tools, further training workshops will be held in the near future.
Akvo Flow has greatly improved the data collection process. Flow basically provides a shortcut for all the hard work that previously took place during data collection, from printing all the surveys to carrying the questionnaires and compiling the data. This means better quality data, faster.
Akvo RSR has challenged programme staff to take responsibility and ownership of their own results. The system allows monitoring and reporting to be delegated to project staff, who as a result understand how their activities relate to indicators and outcome areas. Within SWA, this created a shift from reporting for reporting’s sake, to actually being aware of what the targets are and how your work contributes to achieving certain objectives and results.