Wellspring Blazes the Trail for Real-Time Reporting
The transformation of a school is a dynamic, multifaceted, and hope-filled journey. And one of our great joys here at Wellspring is sharing this journey with you, whether through individual stories, short films, evidence-based reports, or regular news and updates. Our goal is always to build a true and meaningful picture of how the work you’re supporting is impacting lives and communities in Rwanda, and so we’re excited to share about a new development that is not only impacting our ability to share these stories well, but is directly benefiting those we serve in Rwanda.
Over the past couple of years, Wellspring has been involved in developing an innovative reporting system that is taking our own monitoring and evaluation efforts to the next level, while also providing an example of what’s possible for other organizations and countries. Under the leadership of Joel Olson, our Education Advisor & Technical Consultant, a project called MERIT (Monitoring, Evaluation & Reporting with Integrated Technologies) has now been implemented.
The purpose of MERIT is to increase efficiency and accuracy in data collection and reporting from the field, as our team trains school leaders, teachers, and parents. Wellspring trainers now collect data on tablets, submit to a server in Kigali (even when they’re working in a school that is a long hike from anything resembling a road), and within a matter of minutes, their reports can be completed and viewed by Wellspring staff in both Rwanda and Canada! Where helpful visual graphs showing progress in a particular school used to take two weeks to produce, these can now be generated in MERIT in a couple of seconds. In addition, trainers can add comments that tell a fuller story of progress, and allow for a rich picture of a school’s experience to be shared via PDF report in minutes.
In January, Joel had the opportunity to run a two-day workshop in Rubavu to train our team in MERIT, and he shares that when he revealed the system to them, many teammates’ jaws dropped open and there was even some cheering and celebrating! The excitement comes from the fact that this system not only allows our trainers to collect information much more efficiently, but allows for a faster feedback process. This means that we can quickly establish how we can best build on our training in each school, and develop approaches that meet the specific needs of each school community. This technology now has a key part to play in developing the quality education we’re working towards in 75 Rubavu schools, impacting over 91,000 students. In the end, it’s all about giving children the educational opportunities they need to thrive, and we’re so grateful for the ways in which this new tool will help us to do that for years to come.
Learn more about Joel Olson’s experiences in Rwanda in his recent TedX talk: “Three Lessons I Have Learned From Rwandan Communities.”