Better Technology Leads to Improved Services for Children

by Nicole Duciaume, Regional Sponsorship Coordinator, Americas Regional Office

Yesterday, we met Virginia, a social educator in ChildFund Brazil’s PROCAJ: Projecto Caminhando Juntos (Walking Together Project), in Diamantina. Today, she tells us about her work in a special project, the Child Status Index, which measures child well-being.

Initially, you did an online training using the netbook. What do you think about the online training process? I liked it quite a bit. It was a valuable experience because it is always exciting to learn new things, and, in this case, doing it through a new technology allows you to grow professionally as well. Since I already have computer skills, this was an opportunity to use them in a new and exciting way that will ultimately help us in the field.

After the online training, we then did group work training face-to-face. What did you think about the personal training? I liked the opportunity to talk and present my questions, concerns and doubts and to then receive real-time responses. It was good to bounce ideas and interchanges and interactions with my fellow colleagues, to discuss and come to a consensus.

What do you think about the CSI tool? I think it is a good idea to be able to gather indicators on the 12 factors [e.g., health, nutrition, education, housing] about the well-being of the child. It will be good to be able to track progress individually and on a community level with this tool. I think there are still some things we can do differently to provide more innovation and to see the differences with the different ages of the children, but I am looking forward to seeing the initial results and discussing how to match this to our programs.

Children are curious about the netbooks.

What do you like about using the netbooks in the field to collect data? I loved it. I thought it was really cool and also much more efficient. The netbooks were small — light— and really easy to use. We already do house visits and collect data, but only with pen and paper. So walking into the homes with the netbooks symbolized innovation and efficiency. The children also loved the idea of the technology. It raised their curiosity levels, and you could see them looking at the computers with wonder in their eyes. They do not have much access to technology, so this was a whole new experience for them.

How do you think this technology will improve your job? I think this will make a great improvement…who knows, maybe even 90 percent. This technology will allow us to collect all the data (qualitative/quantitative), and, in general, all of the children’s data and the children’s well-being information will be in the netbook. So this will change how we can use data, run reports, have photos at the moment and keep the information collected. There won’t be any concern about losing papers, getting them ripped, forgetting something that you need back at the office, etc. Everything you need will be in one place. It is all at your fingertips.

How do you think using this tool will improve the situation in ChildFund communities? Because we will be more efficient in our administrative activities, we will have more time to do activities and programs for children and communities. This will open our time and strengthen our outreach. It may seem like a small thing, but it will have big results: more programming, less administration. And then having data quickly available will improve our programming decisions and ultimately the quality of our work in the communities.

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