Design-Thinking Workshops to Improve Data Collection Tools

UNICEF Kenya and the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, with ONA KENYA, aim to digitize social intelligence reporting

Moses Rono
Abongile Mpati poses with her baby Linothando (4 months) in a street near her house
08 November 2016

UNICEF Kenya and the Ministry of Devolution and Planning (MoDP) with ONA KENYA aims to digitize the country’s Social Intelligence Reporting (SIR) from the current paper-based format.

SIR is an innovative process and tool to support social budgeting (the allocation of public spending to achieve progress in social as well as economic indicators) and is being piloted at scale by the MoDP together with select county government and with the support of UNICEF.

The SIR information is documented by social intelligence teams based on responses received from people during visits to facilities and communities. These responses note how funds are allocated as well as if the fund provisions for education, health, and water services have been utilized. Integrating SIR on WASH, Health, Education, Nutrition and Social Protection has helped improve service delivery and increase transparency.

However, SIR has not been used as frequently as envisioned due to the lengthy process of converting the paper-based responses to digital format for analysis and reporting. To improve the SIR program, a 2-day design-thinking workshop was conducted.


The workshop

Led by Roger, Ona Lead Designer, representatives from UNICEF Kenya, MoDP, different line Ministries, Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, and sub-county level officials came together for a 2-day workshop to define requirements, review existing forms and how they can improve SIR for streamlined reporting.

The workshop started with how each participant envisioned their ideal E-SIR system.

Participants going through the questions.
Participants going through the questions.

Participants were then divided into sector groups namely education, social protection, WASH, and nutrition. Each group discussed the existing surveys, WHY these questions were being asked in communities, HOW can these existing questionnaires be improved, and WHAT needs to be done to improve them. The discussion focused on ensuring that the questionnaire captures important indicators that can be used to address the welfare of children and women.

The envisioned e-sir from one of the participants.
The envisioned e-sir from one of the participants.


At the end of the group discussions, each group presented what they discussed, and participants voted on what key indicators and items should appear on the SIR system dashboard.

The workshop also brought together some of the SIR interviewers and users of the collected data to discuss key challenges they have faced, and how they want the improved SIR system to address them. Based on the discussions, the envisioned SIR system should provide:

  • Real-time or near real-time data for same-day analysis
  • An offline data capture function to address limited internet connectivity in some of the areas
  • A GPS point and locations lookup for easier site identification
  • Improved usability with hints and help texts on some of the questions
  • Image capture capabilities

Along with our partners, UNICEF Kenya hopes to continue advocating the use of innovative approaches and workshops like this on its day-to-day programming to create more efficient programmes that can improve the lives of the most vulnerable children.

As a continued commitment to the Principles of Innovations , a completed system will be published on UNICEF Kenya’s Github account:

Stay tuned for the next part of this series.