How do Magna-tiles Help Us Measure Impact?

What do you have when you put six Ethiopian Staff Members together with a Board Member who is crazy about data in a room with smartphones and Magna-tiles for two weeks?

You get an Ethiopian Hack-A-Thon for monitoring, evaluation, and case management of epic proportions!

At Roots Ethiopia, we do a lot of work behind the scenes that you, our donors and supporters, don’t always see. This work ensures our organization is accountable, data-driven and efficiently managed.

While visiting Ethiopia last October and again this past April, Jeanne Marie Olson (Board Member and real-life organizational design consultant) worked with the Roots Ethiopia staff to outline a new relational database and software system supporting all of the data we collect on beneficiaries, schools, and communities in Southern Ethiopia.








Now through the use of smartphones, Roots Ethiopia’s MERL team of social workers and managers can:

    • access and enter the data needed to conduct beneficiary case management;
    • meet beneficiary needs through the tracking and distribution of materials, resources and services in real-time;
    • pull together data analysis as well as real-time reports of work being done across all of the zones we work within.
    • even access and enter data in their smartphones offline when the internet is not immediately available! (Critical for work in rural areas.)






Leveraging the power of mWater’s relatively new SolsticeWorld set of tools, Jeanne created a system that can map and connect all of our sites, deploy surveys, handle confidential and sensitive data, and analyze that data in real-time. And she designed that system through a participatory process that centered the requirements, aspirations, and realities of the Ethiopian team’s work…making sure that the solutions fit the current needs of those working in rural SNNPR areas.


Our special thanks goes to the Ethiopian team members who contributed so much of their subject matter expertise to this project, especially MERL Manager, Zelalem Fufa, and Programs/Operations Coordinator, Biruk Bernabas!

Just one more way Roots Ethiopia is always improving the delivery of programs and services to support locally identified solutions for lasting change!

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