Fariha Raisa, Feedback Labs | July 13th, 2022
We have all heard the statement that knowledge is power. What exactly does this power mean, though? One hypothesis is that power stems from people’s ability to make the best choice for themselves when equipped with the right knowledge and information. Hence, knowledge is power because it has the tremendous capacity to empower people with informed judgment. One organization that is working to ensure that people can truly use the power of information is MAKAIA. Based in Colombia, MAKAIA is a non-profit whose vision is that every person and organization has the information and knowledge to transform themselves.
To equip people with the right information, MAKAIA has designed a tool that allows foundations and non-profits to track the progress of their projects, programs, or donations and communicate with the constituents that participate in a project or program. It is designed as a software service that has two versions—one for foundations and one for non-profits.
The version for foundations allows them to communicate with the non-profits they give donations to. On the other hand, the version for non-profits allows non-profits to track the constituents’ progress that participates in a project or program. The information is collected per participant, 100% customizable, and feedback questions can also be included. If offline or paper feedback forms are used, they can be uploaded to the tool as well. MAKAIA presented in a LabStorm to discuss data integrity, reaching out to people without internet access, and collecting feedback.
- Ensure data integrity and development indicators. As MAKAIA aims to ensure data management integrity when different stakeholders need to access the data, attendees suggested being transparent from the beginning regarding the use of the data. Informed consent is crucial so that the respondent knows where their information is going. For external stakeholders with access to the data, attendees advised MAKAIA to consider a vetting process to request the data rather than having it all readily available to avoid privacy issues. Attendees also suggested integrating development indicators into the feedback process. It was recommended to develop standard indicators related directly to the organization’s work, instead of being donor-driven.
- Including people without internet facilities. Since the platform is accessible to online communities only, nonprofits in extremely rural areas cannot access the platform due to a lack of connectivity. For offline platforms, there are two ways to get feedback – either in person or digitally. Attendees suggested using technology like SMS-based data collection to automate feedback collection.
- Aiding the feedback collection. Since MAKAIA is new to collecting perceptual feedback, attendees suggested talking to them directly to get their initial thoughts on how to get their feedback regularly. Moreover, it was recommended to present the importance of feedback and introduce incentives for those who give frequent feedback. Another idea was to integrate M&E data collection into the projects on the platform. It will help nonprofits better manage the M&E process and allow constituents to share perceptual and objective feedback. Lastly, starting with a representative group that can serve as an advisory committee on feedback was recommended, even before collecting feedback from the rest of the constituents.
Following the LabStorm session, MAKAIA concluded with key takeaways regarding informed consent from the constituents and access levels to the data to ensure privacy. They emphasized better understanding their audience – an active or highly engaged user – to improve their service. They wrapped by aiming to make their platform more accessible, especially to communities without internet access.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.
To learn more about participating in a virtual LabStorm, please visit feedbacklabs.org/labstorms.