Featured Blog: Assessing Family Planning Training in Uganda using CAFE Platform

Follow CITRIS Connected Communities Research & Development Manager, Brandie Nonnecke, during her travels to Uganda to identify how mobile phone technology can be used to enhance family planning and reproductive health trainings using the CAFE platform.

The CAFE platform integrates elements of two prior projects: citizen report cards developed by the World Bank and the Opinion Space project (http://opinion.berkeley.edu) developed by researchers and designers at the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative. The most recent version of the platform was The California Report Card, a pilot project that aims to increase public engagement with political issues and to help leaders at all levels stay informed about the changing opinions and priorities of their constituents.

Watch the video of DevCAFE in action.



July 5, 2015  | Dr. Brandie Nonnecke, Research & Development Manager

Lessons From the Field: Participatory assessment using Uganda CAFE

Unmet need for family planning and reproductive health trainings and services leads to inadequate birth spacing and increased maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in developing countries (WHO, 2014). The CITRIS Connected Communities Initiative developed Uganda CAFE, a participatory assessment platform that enables firsthand evaluation of the effectiveness of family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) education trainings.

Uganda CAFE features a low-literacy user interface that allows women participants to evaluate the opportunities and barriers to family planning adoption, audio record their suggestions for improving the effectiveness of FPRH trainings, and evaluate the importance of others’ suggestions.

Forty women participants enrolled in Nutrition Education Centers (Centers) in the Kamuli District, Uganda participated. The participants evaluated local opportunities and barriers to adopting FPRH strategies and provided suggestions for how the Centers and FPRH trainings could be improved.

It is good to hear information recorded on the platform from the other participants because it helps us to understand and plan for the center.” – Woman member of a Nutrition Education Center

Woman smiling at CenterUganda CAFÉ applies statistical models and collaborative filtering to enable rapid identification of key insights while in the field. Current insights reveal continued fear of particular family planning methods, but that participants would like to increase the frequency of trainings to reduce local misconceptions.

This work was supported by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Development Impact Lab (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00011), part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network; UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab; and the UC CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.

World Health Organization [WHO]. (2014). Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations [Online]. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1qZ8DIB

Photo credit: Brandie Nonnecke


June 24, 2015  | Dr. Brandie Nonnecke, Research & Development Manager

Uganda CAFE: Enabling Collaborative Feedback on Family Planning Training

Timely and reliable feedback is vital to the success of development programs. We’ve developed the Collaborative Assessment and Feedback Engine (CAFE) to directly engage communities from developing regions in the collective assessment of local conditions, needs and outcomes of development interventions.

In contrast to traditional field surveys, CAFE provides rapid insights to participants and development practitioners by combining statistical analysis and collaborative filtering to streamline and structure feedback.

Launched in the Kamuli District, Uganda in June 2014, Uganda CAFE was used to collect feedback on the effectiveness of family planning (FP) education trainings among women members of Nutrition Education Centers (centers). Language and literacy barriers made autonomous participation a challenge. Participants completed Uganda CAFE with the aid of a translator who assisted in entering their responses into the system.

Uganda-CAFE 2
Uganda CAFE has been redesigned to feature a low-literacy user interface that includes infographics, audio instructions in the local language, and audio recording of participants’ responses. Participants are asked to provide their feedback on local opportunities and barriers to adoption of family planning methods and audio record their suggestions for how the centers can be improved. Participants are invited to listen to and evaluate the importance of their peers’ suggestions, enabling crowdsourced insights on priority issues. We hypothesize that the low-literacy version of CAFE will provide participants with greater autonomy and empowerment in the evaluation of development programs.

Brandie Nonnecke, Research & Development Manager for the CITRIS Connected Communities Initiatives, will test the low-literacy version of Uganda CAFE in the Kamuli District, Uganda in early July.

This work was supported by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Development Impact Lab (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00011), part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network; UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab; and the UC CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.

Photo credit: Brandie Nonnecke


January 7, 2015  | Dr. Brandie Nonnecke, Research & Development Manager

Responses were gathered from 137 women who had attended such trainings. Data collected included demographic information, quantitative assessments of local FPRH knowledge and fears, and qualitative feedback on how current FPRH education strategies could be improved.

The CAFE platform uses Principal Component Analysis to group participants based on their knowledge and fear of FPRH methods. Participant groupings revealed that knowledge and fear are related to the center attended. Regardless of demographic characteristics, participants who attended FPRH trainings at newly formed centers have less knowledge and greater fear of FPRH methods than those who attend the more established center. This insight suggests the need for increased sharing of resources and FPRH education strategies between centers. However, further analysis explaining differences between centers is still needed. Each center may have unique characteristics that require tailored trainings to fit the community’s specific needs.

The CAFE platform also facilitated collection of qualitative feedback on how each center’s FPRH strategies could be improved. Participants suggested increasing the frequency of trainings to overcome entrenched fears and including participants’ husbands in the training programs.

While these preliminary results suggest that CAFE is an effective tool for collecting timely feedback on the effectiveness of development programs, further data analysis is currently underway, and we plan another implementation of CAFE in the Kamuli District and rural Mexico.

This work was supported by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Development Impact Lab (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00011), part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network; UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab; and the UC CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.


June 16, 2014 | Dr. Brandie Nonnecke, Research & Development Manager

Summary of Research

In developing countries, unmet need for family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) trainings and services leads to inadequate birth spacing, increasing maternal and infant mortality and morbidity (WHO, 2014). Uganda has one of the highest total fertility rates in East Africa with 6 births per woman and has the highest unmet need for FPRH training and services in the region (Kisaakye, 2013).

Brandie Nonnecke with mothers at one of the Nutrition Education Centers

Brandie Nonnecke with mothers at one of the Nutrition Education Centers

The purpose of this study is to better understand factors affecting family planning and reproductive health trainings and services in the Kamuli District, Uganda. Short surveys and semi-structured, in-depth interviews will be conducted with women at three “Nutrition Education Centers” (Centers) operated by a Ugandan non-governmental organization, Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO).

The Centers provide weekly trainings and services in FPRH. To date, the FPRH intervention strategies (e.g., weekly lessons to educate women on various forms of birth control and where they can gain access to contraceptive materials) have had minimal impact on adoption of FPRH strategies in the community. Back-to-back pregnancies are prevalent and have been found to increase child malnutrition in the district. The goal of this research project is to assess the effectiveness of the FPRH trainings offered through the three Centers and local knowledge of family planning practices. We seek to identify how mobile telephone technology can be used to enhance the FPRH trainings and access to contraceptive materials.

Short surveys will be administered through a novel mobile technology called the Collective Assessment and Feedback Engine (CAFE). The CAFE platform integrates elements of two prior projects: citizen report cards developed by the World Bank and the Opinion Space project (http://opinion.berkeley.edu) developed by researchers and designers at the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative. We hypothesize that use of CAFE will increase engagement and feedback between women and Center staff on socially and culturally appropriate FPRH intervention strategies, resulting in greater adoption of FPRH strategies among women participants.

This work was supported by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Development Impact Lab (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00011), part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network; UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab; and the UC CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

Kisaakye, P. (2013). Determinents of unmet need for contraception to space and limit births among various groups of currently married women in Uganda,” presented at the Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference (AIIC), Azores, Portugal.

World Health Organization [WHO]. (2014). Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations [Online]. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1qZ8DIB