Helping communities fix development projects: over 500 projects now published on DevelopmentCheck

emmi Oct 9, 2016
Blog

Reaching a milestone

Integrity Action is delighted to announce that our award winning online community-based monitoring system, DevelopmentCheck, now has over 500 projects published! We are proud of this achievement and so grateful to all our partners who continue to champion the platform and its associated app through their work in the field.

What’s new?

DevelopmentCheck (or DevCheck as we like to call it) has a couple of great new features. Did you know that you can now view beneficiary satisfaction levels in projects from twenty sectors? These include: water and sanitation, education, agriculture, roads and environmental protection, amongst others. In addition, when viewing a project from one of the eleven countries we currently operate in, you can see each project's number of beneficiaries, dates, location and budget. Amazingly, this means that projects worth over $680 million are currently being monitored.

All that said, we at Integrity Action believe that the really interesting part is being able to see what problems were encountered when implementing a project and the solutions a community put in place to fix these problems. This depth of information, across such a broad range of sectors and countries, is why reaching the 500 project mark is such a massive achievement for DevelopmentCheck!

Want to know more?

As said, DevelopmentCheck is an online platform that allows communities in developing countries to monitor and improve the quality of services that are provided to them. Integrity Action’s in country partners empower local communities to monitor the implementation of development projects. They do this by demanding transparency from implementing agencies to ensure that the funds meant to be spent on improving lives have the intended effect. In practice, this can mean holding community briefings as our partner Luka Hamatuk in Timor Leste did. From these meetings the community collectively choose a project to monitor.  A community member then volunteers to take the lead on this and does the monitoring on the communities behalf. These monitors will visit a project to gather data on the progress that is being made and beneficiaries' perceptions of the quality of the project. All the data and information collected is then uploaded onto DevelopmentCheck.

Why does this matter?

We believe that by having an open and transparent system that records beneficiaries' perceptions of development projects, we are able to create a positive feedback loop. An autonomous, transparent system that records reviews from the beneficiaries. In this way, it is somewhat like TripAdvisor. But instead of users reviewing hotels or restaurants, here they review the quality of the primary health care centre or the local school building. What this really means it that evidence is collected and as the feedback can be accessed by all (including those who are implementing and funding projects), negative reviews frequently lead to an improvement in project implementation and the level of service provided. From choosing which projects to focus on, to monitoring and benefiting from improved services, the community are at the centre of everything to do with DevelopmentCheck. This is key to creating a positive feedback loop.

What is unique about DevelopmentCheck?

Well, there is an additional feature to DevelopmentCheck that goes beyond what sites in the commercial sector do. This is the 'Fix Rate'. When monitors visit a project they may find that the project they are visiting has a problem, for example some of the materials being used are not to the standard set out in the initial project planning. Community monitors are trained to engage with other stakeholders to find a solution to these problems. The more problems that monitors are able to help find a solution to, the higher the ‘Fix Rate’ is. DevelopmentCheck has an average ‘Fix Rate’ of over 50%, one of the highest in our sector.

We believe that all these different aspects of DevelopmentCheck are what make it so unique. Having over 500 projects published online does not just mean that we have collected information on these projects, but each one represents a community that has improved the level of services provided to them.

What lies ahead?

Since the start of 2016 our partners have helped communities monitor an additional 400 projects. By January we are hoping to have doubled the current number of projects published to our system and to reach the 1000 mark! In addition, we are currently working on ways to improve the system further with additional features to make it easier to upload data and provide more detailed information for users from outside the organisation.  Continually improving the system will help us to close the feedback loop further and increase the standards of development projects around the world.