Working in a country with limited infrastructure poses logistical challenges for any company. Targeting rural populations, geographically isolated with even less infrastructure than in urban areas, is even more challenging. Wireless reception can be weak or non-existent. Transmitting data from a rural area back to staff in Dar or Tanga can be difficult, significantly slowing down our operations.
So how do we coordinate operations and ensure the whole team has access to the same, updated data— even in rural areas with limited connectivity?
To tackle this problem, we’ve partnered with Dimagi, a social enterprise that makes open source software for those who work in developing countries and with underserved populations. While originally focused on healthcare, Dimagi has recently been adapting its software to fit the needs of other social enterprises that work with rural populations. CommCare is one of Dimagi’s mobile and web-based applications, which enables our technicians and salespeople to easily collect data in the field, both on their phones and computers.
While our field teams have been using cloud-based applications for a while now, CommCare offers significant improvements over everything else on the market. CommCare is designed to work even when our field staff don’t have data or wireless connection. Every file concerning one customer is grouped so that we can seamlessly follow an individual from prospective customer through installation and system maintenance. This way, every EGG employee can clearly and easily check which stage of the process the customer is at. Grouping files also allows us to filter our questions depending on previous answers. Finally, CommCare lets us easily switch between English and Kiswahili, enabling our international team to use the language that’s most convenient for them in any given circumstance.
Our technical manager, Jennifer Harlow, has worked tirelessly over the past few months to adapt the platform to fit EGG’s unique needs. After training the entire team on how to use CommCare, we’ve rolled out the application across our office and field teams. The entire EGG team is already enjoying the ease of our new system.