It is time for data collection to move on, too

Posted by: Gitahi Ng'ang'a on

This is the spartan cabin of the 1929 Ford Model A.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the interior of the 2013 Tesla Model S.


This grainy image here, is a Nairobi street in 1930.


This is the city of Nairobi in 2015.


This here, is an enumerator conducting the 1930 population census in the United States.


And this, believe it or not, is an enumerator conducting the 2009 population census in Kenya.


It is easy to see how far the automobile and the city of Nairobi have come in 80 odd years. But apart from the color in the 2009 census picture, there’s not much else that distinguishes it from a similar scene 79 years before! In each case, the enumerator intently listens to the respondent, pen and paper in hand. With these instruments, he/she will record important information that will inform national decisions and shape the lives of a generation.

It is 2016, and it is time for researchers to move on, too.

Data is the currency of the 21st century. No government or organization that is serious about the future can afford to rely on guesswork or poor quality data for decision making.

Our raison d’être

Our company, Hoji Ltd, was founded in 2014 to address the need for a robust, flexible and easy to use mobile data collection solution. We spent over 4 months studying the reasons why researchers, especially in government and large organizations, continue to choose pen and paper for data collection despite remarkable advances in IT. We talked to dozens of researchers and M&E practitioners and reviewed many data collection applications. In the end, we discovered they all fell short for the same reasons:

  1. Too complex to set up and use
  2. Lack of some critical features e.g. longitudinal data collection
  3. Inability to handle large amounts of data
  4. Lack of reliable technical support

Armed with this knowledge, we set out to create a brave new world of mobile data collection. We studied the approach taken by many before us. We benefited from their insight but were careful not to be blinded by their achievements. We also talked to many research experts about their needs and expectations.

Robust, flexible and easy to use

In the 2 years that followed, juggling day jobs and working nights and weekends, we set out to build a robust, flexible and easy to use mobile data collection platform. It has been hard work, but the result is finally here. We opened for business in March 2016 and in the 5 months since then, we have successfully completed 7 projects for 6 very happy customers.

On this blog, we plan to tell you more about what we do, why we do it and how you can partner with us on this journey. We also hope to share our experiences in the industry as we grow, hoping to both teach and learn from our readers. Our overarching mission is to help every government and organization in Africa collect better quality data more efficiently.

Leave a Reply