Food Security Monitoring via Mobile Data Collection and Remote Sensing: Results from the Central African Republic
Markus Enenkel , Linda See, Mathias Karner, Mònica Álvarez, Edith Rogenhofer, Carme Baraldès-Vallverdú, Candela Lanusse, Núria Salse
Published: November 18, 2015
The Central African Republic is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries, suffering from chronic poverty, violent conflicts and weak disaster resilience. In collaboration with Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), this study presents a novel approach to collect information about socio-economic vulnerabilities related to malnutrition, access to resources and coping capacities. The first technical test was carried out in the North of the country (sub-prefecture Kabo) in May 2015. All activities were aimed at the investigation of technical feasibility, not at operational data collection, which requires a random sampling strategy. At the core of the study is an open-source Android application named SATIDA COLLECT that facilitates rapid and simple data collection. All assessments were carried out by local MSF staff after they had been trained for one day. Once a mobile network is available, all assessments can easily be uploaded to a database for further processing and trend analysis via MSF in-house software. On one hand, regularly updated food security assessments can complement traditional large-scale surveys, whose completion can take up to eight months. Ideally, this leads to a gain in time for disaster logistics. On the other hand, recording the location of every assessment via the smart phones’ GPS receiver helps to analyze and display the coupling between drought risk and impacts over many years. Although the current situation in the Central African Republic is mostly related to violent conflict it is necessary to consider information about drought risk, because climatic shocks can further disrupt the already vulnerable system. SATIDA COLLECT can easily be adapted to local conditions or other applications, such as the evaluation of vaccination campaigns. Most importantly, it facilitates the standardized collection of information without pen and paper, as well as straightforward sharing of collected data with the MSF headquarters or other aid organizations.
Citation: Enenkel M, See L, Karner M, Álvarez M, Rogenhofer E, Baraldès-Vallverdú C, et al. (2015) Food Security Monitoring via Mobile Data Collection and Remote Sensing: Results from the Central African Republic. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142030
Editor: Hany A. El-Shemy, Cairo University, EGYPT
Received: July 6, 2015; Accepted: October 17, 2015; Published: November 18, 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Enenkel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Data Availability: Since Doctors without Borders are very careful when dealing with patient data all assessments were anonymized. Also the GPS-locations and the names of the community health workers were deleted/anonymized for the purpose of this study. An anonymized MS-Excel sheet containing all results is available via Doctors without Borders (email@example.com).
Funding: This work was supported by (https://www.ffg.at/), grant number: 4277353. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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