Am I Reaching the Poor? Measuring Equity with DHIS2


On Thursday, February 9th, 2017 from 11:30AM to 12:30PM ET, we will present a free webinar:


Am I Reaching the Poor? 

Measuring Equity with DHIS2

Although many development programs actively target the poor, actually measuring how well we are doing this can often be challenging.  Metrics for Management (M4M) has just released a DHIS2 version of its popular EquityTool, a set of simplified questionnaires to help NGOs estimate the wealth distribution of their clients, and ultimately understand how effectively they are reaching the poor (see


In this webinar, we will provide an overview of the EquityTool, give a brief demonstration of how quickly and easily the EquityTool questionnaires and indicators can be installed in your own DHIS2 instance, and explore how you can then use them to measure equity and make data-driven decisions in your programs.



Nirali Chakraborty is the Director of Research and Technical Assistance at Metrics for Management and leads M4M’s research and technical assistance activities. She formerly oversaw the quality and dissemination of Population Services International’s reproductive health related research internationally. Nirali also previously worked as a consultant for the World Bank and Broad Branch Associates, specializing in health systems and performance based financing, and has expertise in quantitative research methods. Nirali has conducted research in, and published articles on, social franchising, health equity, health workforce performance and maternal health. She is fluent in English and French, and proficient in 3 Indian sub-continent languages, Gujarati, Hindi and Bengali.  Nirali received her PhD in International Health, with a concentration in Health Systems, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Samuel Johnson is a freelance consultant at Qebo Ltd who advises iNGOs on the design and roll-out of information systems.  His previous positions include global Head of Management Information Systems for Marie Stopes International, M&E Advisor to the Swaziland Ministry of Health, and a range of senior management roles in UK hospitals.  As well as extensive senior management experience in the iNGO and government sectors, Sam has a deep technical understanding of information systems, with particular specializations in DHIS2, business intelligence solutions and electronic client records.  Sam has an MSc Development Management from the London School of Economics.

Kenzo Fry is a consultant at Tebiro Ltd specializing in poverty measurement, costing and impact modelling. He previously ran the Impact Analysis team at Marie Stopes International, which is responsible for designing the organization’s performance metrics, impact modelling, and overseeing global reporting such as MSI’s Global Impact Report. He also has extensive field experience running surveys and studies for public health programs in Indonesia. Kenzo has an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


To register for this free webinar:


Please feel free to share this webinar information with others at your organization who may have an interest in this topic.  


 Twitter: #DHIS24iNGOs



DHIS2 Symposium 2017 Overview



On Thursday, January 19th, 2017 from 11:30AM to 12:30PM ET, we will present a free webinar:


DHIS2 Symposium 2017 Overview

The DHIS 2 Symposium is an annual event that brings DHIS 2 implementers, and M&E and technical experts together to learn from a wide range of DHIS 2 implementation projects.  


As we enter the 3rd year of the Symposium, DHIS 2 adoption continues to expand exponentially.  Implementing partners are now faced with multi-instance environments from the National HMIS instance to Donor and Partner instances.  This year, we’ll explore how various DHIS implementers are dealing with complex issues of data exchange and discuss how we can more easily facilitate this exchange through system interoperability.  We will also hear about innovative usage of data either through in-built features or through BI tools. Developers from the University of Oslo will share updates on the DHIS 2 roadmap and talk about the University’s on-going capacity building efforts.  


If you haven’t attended the symposium previously, or you want to hear more about this year’s agenda, join us for a casual discussion about the topics and speakers and answer any questions about this year’s event. 



Panelists & Moderators:

Nicola Hobby is the Director of Service Delivery at BAO Systems and the organizing chair of the DHIS 2 Symposium.  Since 2012, Nicola has lead institutional-wide DHIS 2 deployment projects at multiple international public health non-profits.

William Lester, Executive Director, NPOKI

Igal Rabinovich, CEO, n-Village


To register for this free webinar:


Please feel free to share this webinar information with others at your organization who may have an interest in this topic.  


 Twitter: #DHIS24iNGOs




Mango Mobile Application Platform


On Tuesday, January 10th from 11:30AM to 12:45PM ET, we will present a free webinar:


Mango Mobile Application Platform


The Mango platform is a complete mHealth surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation solution – scalable to any size, flexible to suit any operation, and fully customizable with its modular architecture. The platform is designed to operate sustainably in any environment, even when the available communications services and infrastructure is limited or unreliable – what we call a low resource area. And it can be a standalone solution, or integrate with other platforms like DHIS2.


The Mango platform was developed by Greenmash LTD, a UK-based software and consulting firm – with offices in London, Washington D.C., Auckland, and Nairobi – that works extensively with government and non-profit organizations. Join Andrew Wyborn, Managing Director at Greenmash, as he and his team discuss and demonstrate how Mango has provided mHealth solutions for its clients.


(This is a co-presentation of both the Connecting The Information Dots and the DHIS2 For INGOS webinar series)


Andrew Wyborn is the Managing Director at Greenmash LTD. He is passionate about building businesses that make a real and sustainable difference, improving processes, visibility and accountability.


To register for this free webinar:


Please feel free to share this webinar information with others at your organization who may have an interest in this topic.  





M&E Data Collection Tools: Buy Versus Build

Build vs Buy – that is the question. Or is it?…

In DC and NYC, we heard from development professionals who were struggling with the question on how to build an organization-wide technology-enabled system for collecting, storing and analyzing M&E data. Some of the questions that development organizations are asking when thinking about organization-wide management information systems (MIS) are:

How do we collect and manage M&E data on complex programmes across hundreds of countries? Many multi-national organizations have multiple projects within one country, and/or projects that stretch internationally. In these instances, each project or country needs the ability to customize their M&E work to their particular setting. This becomes even more challenging when multiple partner organizations are involved in delivering one project or programme.

How do we balance flexibility, while at the same time keep standards and common measures of activities, outcome and impact in place? Many organizations have experience building their own systems (after perhaps researching systems and not finding the right fit) but they are still finding that the system is limited, doesn’t work perfectly or do everything it needs to do.

What can we expect from our software solutions? And what other systems do we need to put in place to support or enable software to fulfill its promise of greater efficiency and coordination? Or do we have it the wrong way around? Quality communication around the process of providing an enterprise M & E solution will help to control expectations, and inform stakeholders of the bigger issues involved in achieving success. Change Management is the step that is often overlooked.

How will you support an enterprise M& E system, including rollout, training, helpdesk, and upgrades? Once your application is ready, rolling it out and training staff on its use and features is not a one-time effort. Do you have the resources (staff, funds, time) to provide the needed support services? Some organizations have reported a successful initial project rollout only to see it die from lack of support. Staff who don’t feel comfortable using an application or who don’t see improvements in functionality will go back to the tools they’ve used in the past.

We heard experiences from organizations that have launched organization-wide technology systems for M&E (and other) data. We heard that the several tips for how to start the conversation within your organization and what to do/not do:

  • Start with a discussion about the processes for collecting data. Establish standards and test them across the organization
  • Standardize your theory of change and results framework (as much as possible); this is important so that data are comparable across the system
  • Focus on data for decision-making – if data are not useful for decision making, consider why you are collecting, storing and analyzing that data
  • Start small – test your system in Excel or Google Forms first before moving to a more complicated system. Starting small will allow you to identify where the most time is being spend, and therefore where technology can be most impactful
  • Manage expectations – technology cannot solve all of your M&E challenges!

If you do find yourself assessing tools for organization-wide M&E data (after you have piloted standardized your indicators and tested some spreadsheets) there are three main options: the first is Build – if your organization has a software development team and the ongoing resources to invest in a system, you can consider building your own from scratch, using technology that is new to your organization; the second option is to “Buy” or license a system from an existing commercial vendor; the third is a Hybrid of build and buy, which is to customize an existing, open-source solution for managing your data, or build upon an existing platform with which your in-house staff currently uses and supports. This option will also require some in-house (or consultant) time but maybe be more sustainable than building from scratch or buying/licensing from a commercial vendor. In the table below, you’ll find some lessons learned or best practices when considering one of these three options, as well as some examples of each.


Creating your own system from scratch


Commercial vendors selling or licensing an existing product


Customizing an existing system or building upon a known platform

  • Is Software Development in your mission statement?
  • Consider sustainability – will you develop in-house capacity? Or work with consultants?
  • What resources do you have?
  • Think about how resources will change – both staff (staff-turnover) and software (will the software still be supported in 3-5-1- years)
  • The product should meet 80% to 90% of your requirements “out-of-the-box” – no additional work required
  • The product should hold your information in a generic file format (not a proprietary file type!)
  • What is the longevity of the “buy” product? What happens if the company is sold or goes out of business?
  • Verify that the software is real (not just a demo)
  • Examples: TaroWorks, Fluxx, DevResults etc.
  • Can be open source
  • Can be collaborative
  • Can build upon existing in-house expertise
  • Think about who will do the customization – will you use in-house resources or work with consultants?
  • Some examples: Sharepoint, Salesforce, DHIS2, Odoo, etc.

And it is not only M&E data that development organizations, researchers and practitioners are struggling to manage – there are many other data and software solutions development organizations may be using or considering. How will your M&E solution connect with other appropriate data silos? Below is table of just some of them:

What are some of the data silos/ways to use software in development organizations?

Internal Facing

Combination of internal and external facing

  • Human Resources systems
  • Intranet
  • Email and internal communications (chat, calendars, etc.)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Financial Management
  • Project Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Grants management
  • Data management for Monitoring & Evaluation (depends on who you are relying upon for data – this could be completely internal but many M&E systems rely on data from partner organizations)
  • Extranets or external web sites

Written by Jamie Lundine, Spatial Collective Ltd, and William Lester, NPOKI based on their joint session at M&E Deep Dive in NYC

Symposium: DHIS2 for iNGOs

Thursday and Friday, January 29 – 30, 2015

University of California, Washington Center

1608 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036



On Thursday and Friday, January 29 – 30, 2015, Population Services International (PSI) and The University of Oslo (UiO), in partnership with the NonProfit Organizations Knowledge Initiative (NPOKI) and InsideNGO will host a two- day event DHIS2 for iNGOs – a Symposium. The purpose is to showcase an open-sourced M&E solution with the unique opportunity to provide input in how to enhance DHIS2 as an enterprise M&E management tool for iNGOs.

The cost for the two-day event is $250. You can register for DHIS2 for iNGOs here



  • Does your organization suffer from Tableitis?  i.e. the use of tables to display all forms of M&E data.
  • Does your organization use Excel, Access, custom-built or mobile applications to collect and manage your monitoring and evaluation data at the project, local, regional or enterprise level?
  • Have you considered buying or building your own management information system (MIS)
  • Do you wish you had powerful, visual, analytic tools that could create customizable dashboards for each of your programs or projects?

Join us at this highly interactive event to learn more about this open-sourced software solution that numerous iNGOs are now utilizing to support M&E. Developed by the University of Oslo (UiO), this is a valuable opportunity to meet users and developers.

DHIS2 is a revolutionary open-source platform that provides a robust alternative to off-the-shelf and custom M&E applications.  Developed by the University Of Oslo Department Of Informatics, DHIS2 is used in over 46 countries and is supported by a large, global community of developers, implementers, and end users.

Symposium Content/Objectives:

Presenters will include iNGOs implementing DHIS2, and DHIS2 technical experts and developers.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • Understand Buy versus Build versus Open Source/Other.
  • Using case studies to demonstration how DHIS2 provided a solution for iNGOs seeking to bring ICTs to M&E.
  • Learn how to eliminate Tableitis from your organization.
  • Learn what worked and what didn’t work in implementing DHIS2 locally or globally.
  • Meet current users, champions, and developers of DHIS2.
  • Share your specific requirements with the developers and network with other iNGO staff challenged with similar needs.
  • Provide valuable feedback to DHIS2 developers to explain what would make DHIS2 more iNGO-friendly.

 Who Should Attend:

M&E specialists at iNGOs, Project/Program Managers at iNGOs, IT staff who support application purchasing/development, consultants working with DHIS2, system integrators at iNGOs.


The cost for the two-day event is $250. Register here


District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2) is a popular open source information system used primarily by ministries of health across 46 countries as an information resource for data management andanalysis, for program monitoring and evaluation, as facility registries and service availability mapping, for logistics management and for mobile tracking of clients in rural communities. The system is developedand managed by the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo, and supported by the Health Information Systems Programme (HISP) network. The software is backed by a large and growing implementing community. DHIS2 is well established as a successful information and communication technology (ICT) for the government sector, in particular in the developing world.

Over the last few years, the system has gained traction within international non-governmental organizations (iNGOs). The system has proven itself as a highly flexible and robust tool for collecting, managing and analyzing monitoring and evaluation data (M&E) and as a data integration platform for other systems including electronic document and records management system (EDRMS), human resources information systems (HRIS), finance systems (ERP), and other systems.

Organizations who have tried to procure commercial systems or build their own custom applications have come to understand that DHIS2 fulfills many of the requirements for a robust M&E enterprise-system,delivered at a fraction of the cost of commercial offerings. They have also come to realize that other sectors, such as education, environment, and advocacy may benefit using a tool like DHIS2, making it moreuniversal than originally imagined. Currently 23 NGOs have adopted DHIS2 for use at various levels. This small but powerful group of iNGOs is pushing the boundaries of DHIS2 in new and exciting ways.

For further information, or requests to be considered as a presenter for this event, please contact Nicola Hobby, MIS Program Manager at Population Services International, at


Data Collection Blog

Rodolfo Melia, NPOKI’s Director of Programs, is now blogging on the topic of Data Collection. He’s working with Daniel Messer at Population Services International (PSI) on “…the development of an integrated management system for collecting and analyzing the results of their work”, and his blog will reflect his work on that project.  While our focus is on health-related data, Rodolfo’s ideas can be applied to a lot of international NGOs working in low resource areas.

You can check out his blog at: