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Open Access Publications from the University of California

DevCAFE 1.0: A participatory platform for assessing development initiatives in the field

  • Author(s): Nonnecke, Brandie;
  • Krishnan, Sanjay;
  • Patel, Jay;
  • Zhou, Mo;
  • Byaruhanga, Laura;
  • Masinde, Dorothy;
  • Meneses, Maria Elena;
  • Martin del Campo, Aejandro;
  • Crittenden, Camille;
  • Goldberg, Ken
  • et al.

The design and assessment of development initiatives is increasingly participatory, where decision makers consider feedback from affected populations. While digital data collection facilitates faster and more reliable analysis, existing data collection tools are not optimized for unstructured qualitative (textual) data and peer-to- peer participant collaboration. In this paper, we propose a system called the Development Collaborative Assessment and Feedback Engine version 1.0 (DevCAFE), a customizable participatory assessment platform that collects and integrates quantitative assessment, qualitative feedback and peer-to-peer collaborative filtering. DevCAFE incorporates a library of statistical analyses for researchers to quickly identify quantitative and qualitative trends while collecting field data. DevCAFE can run on any mobile device with a web-browser and can work with or without Internet connectivity. We present results from two pilot projects: (1) 137 participants evaluating family planning education trainings at three Nutrition Education Centers in rural Uganda, and (2) 4,518 participants evaluating policy priorities for elected leaders in the June 2015 Mexico mid-term elections. DevCAFE collected over 19,000 peer-to-peer ratings of 336 submitted ideas. Feedback gathered through DevCAFE enabled targeted reforms to the family planning efforts in Uganda and the need for increased government attention to public safety in Mexico. Case studies and interactive demos are available at:

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