Mali WASH Cluster Coordination with ActivityInfo

Background

For the Mali WASH Cluster, as elsewhere, effective cluster coordination requires regular flows of information and communication between cluster partners. However this can be difficult to implement, the Humanitarian Coordinator and Humanitarian Country Team are accountable for adequate and appropriate humanitarian assistance. This requires needs assessments, joint planning, and monitoring and evaluation, all of which need to be based on solid, reliable and valid data.

The Problem

Mail WASH initially used the Word/Excel/Email system for data entry, reporting, monitoring information and evaluation information.

"Even with restricted fields on Excel, partners reported unrequested data. Analyzing this kind of data was time consuming as the data had to be cleaned before it could be used". Robert Cissokho, Mali WASH Cluster

Using the Word/Excel/Email system was actually impeding effective coordination rather than enhancing it, due to the time it was taking to maintain the system and analyse the data.

The Solution

The WASH cluster in Mali uses ActivityInfo as a space where WASH cluster partners can enter communal, shared information and data about their activities on the ground. Partners use on-line forms to enter data directly into the central database. This information is immediately available to the Cluster Coordinator. ActivityInfo provides effective support in the form of combined data and reports about the Cluster, and facilitates inter-cluster coordination through effective targeting of support.

"Since users can???t change the template on ActivityInfo, they provide only requested data. The unrequested data can be transmitted in the comments box. On the other hand, ActivityInfo permits an easy way to present and analyse the data by charts, maps and tables".

Robert Cissokho, Mali WASH Cluster.

Advantages

ActivityInfo ensures that the Humanitarian Information System functions efficiently and in support of the Humanitarian Coordinator's leadership.

Organizational Benefits

ActivityInfo encouraged the development of a coherent and complementary approach across the cluster, identifying ways to work together for better collective results. Meetings between the Wash section, the cluster and the M&E section were held to identify and agree on the Indicator set for use with ActivityInfo. Two training sessions were organized for partners before the 'roll-out' so they could see and understand ActivityInfo's capacities as well as the advantages of its use. ActivityInfo enhanced coordination efforts, meaning less gaps and overlaps in humanitarian organizations' work. It enabled a needs-based, rather than capacity-driven, response.

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