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Importance of Data tracking in Project Monitoring

As a project moves forward it is critical to track its progress through key indicators and data in order to get valuable feedback on whether or not the project objectives are being addressed, factors that may not have been considered during the design stage or even in the implementation stage sometimes come to light through collection of data and tracking different data sets in the project.

We have been collecting a lot of data for the slum sanitation project in order to improve it as well as gain new insights about how the business model could effectively work. Such data also provides us with a better understanding of our customer needs and behaviour as well as track our operational cleaning services that we are offering in the different informal settlement sites in Pune.

Customer behaviour is important in anticipating what they want as well as improve our services. This can be through making observations or conducting interviews and discussions with the customers. Such data that we have been collecting include the determination of the number of users that use the toilet, peak usage times, sanitation and hygiene practices of the users, availability and conditions of alternative services in the area, user feedback through open discussions and interviews regarding the services as well as several base data from a wide spectrum of people in the community i.e extreme users, non- participants of the service, recurring users, people living near the toilet block, those that are far way from the toilet block etc in order to get a wide range of data that can be used to develop a more holistic service.

Different data sets can also give a glimpse of the impact that our project is doing. Monitoring the number of cases of sanitation related diseases before and after for example, conducting a health camp or sanitation awareness camp can be a good way of tracking what you are doing. Such information can be accessed through health care professions in the area or conducting short interviews with the community members and asking questions relating to their health and hygiene practices.

All in all, data collection and tracking can be done in various forms and throughout the project phase. We believe that for a project to be successful and to ensure constant learning and effectiveness of the project, constant data collections, tracking and analysis is important and should be done at regular intervals so as to stay connected to the issue at hand and ensure relevance of the solution that is being provided.

This blog is one in a series that documents the journey of Saraplast in setting up an inclusive slum sanitation venture.