This year, we are releasing ChildConnect: the app for reducing paperwork, speeding up the process of information exchange between sponsor child and sponsor and for improving the data quality. The app will be connected to WDCAP and allows digital registering of new sponsor children, but also updating existing information is possible. How are we rolling this app out to all partner organisations?
Partners and users
We found it crucial to get some future users involved as early as possible. Therefore we sought contact with three partners from different parts of the world to join us in the project. They are really helping us define and develop an app which will have added value for all future users. This does NOT mean that this app is dedicated to their processes only. As Woord en Daad and our partner ProjectConnect Foundation, we will and have to guarantee that the app can be used by all of you. Therefore, our challenge is to make the app flexible and easy to configure to meet your requirements without developing and releasing different customized versions of the app with all negative consequences like costs, updates and service/maintenance.
This is important for the roll out, for during the roll out we will closely work together with each of you to configure the app in order to meet your requirements and to train the users. Although the roll out plan is not yet ready, it will be done partner by partner and not as a ‘big bang’ to all partners on the same time. We will inform you about the roll out plan later this year or early 2021.
Planning and approach 2020/2021
As mentioned in the Newsletter of June, the app will support three main functions: (1) registration of all necessary data of new (proposed) sponsor children, (2) updates/changes (existing data, pictures/videos/text from child to sponsor) and (3) support of the administration in the office (check and control of data, upload to WDCAP).
For it is important to do things with great impact step by step, we decided to change the planning and approach. The first release of the app supports the registration function and will be available November 1st latest. The selected users of the three involved partners will then start the pilot of the app in the field. They will send (by internet as soon as online) the data to the office where the responsible people will check, control and (if needed) change the data before it is entered (still manually) in WDCAP. From November 1st till end of December, the update function and the administration function will be added to the app. The pilot of these two functions will start in January 2021.
Some reasons to change our approach were the (time consuming) iterations we had in mind and to develop the three functions one by one. This will allow partners who are performing the pilot to adapt their process and to get acquainted with the app step by step.
From the beginning of the project, we have discussed and decided to realise a minimum viable app at the end of 2020. Therefore, we will extend the app in the first quarter of 2021 with added features necessary for the roll out to all partners (budget not yet approved).
After the pilot is done successfully, we start the roll out to all users of the three partners who perform the pilot (AMG Philippines, AMG Guatemala, DEDRAS Benin). In parallel, we will develop the roll out plan for 2021 and further.
Main functions – some content and screen examples
(Remark, the screen examples are just examples. The final screens will be much more professional and colourful.)
The first main function is the registration of all necessary data of a new (proposed) sponsor child.
This registration will be done by the user who is interviewing the child and/or his/her caretaker(s) using a smartphone or tablet (Android or iOS). The user will be guided through the app step by step. The starting screen (see the screen example) asks the user to enter the name (first and last name) of the child. If ‘next’ is pressed, the app will show the next screen with the next data to enter. In this way the app will guide the user through the whole process. It is assumed that this should take less time than filling in the current paper form(s). The reason for this assumption is that the answers or requested reactions are mostly already in the app (for instance number of possible answers or multiple choice) and that topography information will automatically be showed on the screen. The process can be stopped and started at any time without losing information. Questions can be skipped temporarily but cannot be forgotten! At the end, when all necessary data is gathered (including a picture!), the data will be transferred (safely) to the central database as soon as internet is available. At the central office a user will check and review the data. If necessary, the user is asked for more data or to change or add data.
The user in the field can see where he or she is in the process by the bar (number) at the bottom of the screen. The screen will also show how many questions or requests are skipped. The number of steps can and may differ per partner by adding extra questions or request for information. This necessitates no extra development, but requires configuring the app for the specific situation of the partner.
The second function makes updates possible.
The wireframe on the right, shows a screen of this function. We distinguish between two types of updates:
- Updates of the data of a child who is already sponsored. For example when a child moves to another town or village or when the situation in his family changes. These kind of updates are necessary as soon as they occur. Other updates have a more frequent character, like regularly updating the health situation or yearly a new picture. The app will remind the user when such an update must be done.
- General updates about the child’s situation for the sponsor. This can be a picture or video of the child on his or her birthday, information on the child’s school, village, etc. This data will be screened by both the partner and WD in order to decide whether the information will be shared with the sponsor or not.
To make updates possible, the user must have the data of the children for whom he or she is responsible on his phone or table. Therefore, child data from WDCAP will in some way be downloaded from WDCAP. So, the connection between the app and WDCAP allows data exchange vice versa.
Search and filter features are important for this function. The screen below shows how to search and filter. The data of the child can have different statuses. Both the user in the field and the user in the office can see the statuses, so that they know if action is required or not.
The third function supports the administration in the office.
Data (new information or updates) from the users in the field need to be reviewed, checked and may be changed before the responsible person allows the data to transfer to WDCAP. Below an example of one of the screens for the user in the office.
2021 and further
As mentioned already, we will complete the app and start the roll out in 2021. We will make plans in the next months. What else are we planning to do? It is our intention to replace WDCAP by new functions in the course of 2021 and probably continuing in 2022. We just started the process to define and work out our plans for 2021 and further.
We face a lot of challenges which we will certainly manage. Just to give you an idea, we will list some of our challenges below.
- Redefining processes at the partner side. We expect that the process from first contact with a child (or his or her caretakers) and the child being sponsored will substantially be shortened with less effort.
- It will influence the communication between sponsored child and sponsor. This need to be considered carefully, for partner and WD have to decide about which information will be sent to the sponsor. Probably, not all information from the child is suitable to share with his or her sponsor.
- The transferring of data between the app, the central database and WDCAP.
- To make the app generic and flexible in order to meet the partner specific requirements and/or situation and to ‘sell’ it to other (donor)organizations. The underlying technology and architecture of the app makes it possible to develop a generic app which can be configured to match the partner specific requirements.
- Making translation of messages (free text) easy by use of available translation tools.
- How to earn back the costs of all these developments.
- Last but not least, guaranteeing the privacy of all data and defining the ownership of the data.
We will regularly inform you about our project in this newsletter. If there is any question or request for more information, do not hesitate to ask: firstname.lastname@example.org.