Are ‘regular’ IMS/MIS useful for monitoring humanitarian response ?

I have just concluded an assessment of national monitoring capacity in countries currently or likely to be affected by natural or man-made disasters. A lot of these countries use Management Information Systems/Information Management Systems that have been supported by the international community, and these are most common in Health and in Education. How useful are these for humanitarian monitoring, especially when it comes to monitoring response (coverage, timeliness, adequacy) ? Is it just a matter of adding more indicators ? What about capacity (human/technical) limitations ? Do they collect data frequently enough ? It seems that while there is potential, when it comes to crises these systems are not capable to deliver the necessary frequency and range of data.
Also, electronic systems, while they are attractive in terms of speed of transmission and standardization of data, leave out a lot of interesting information. To start, the “client satisfaction” with humanitarian assistance remains under-explored, and while systems for getting feedback from beneficiaries of aid are increasingly used, most people still have no easy way to feed back to those providing assistance on its adequacy.
We should therefore be cautious in relying too much on the systems, and focus a lot more on what information we should be using. Which, granted, ultimately can feed into an information management system.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s