Seeing is believing: Peek as monitoring and evaluation software

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a crucial part of any project with predefined outcomes. Showing the effect of your work is invaluable – for yourself, but also your followers or funders. But systematically keeping track of long-term ground impact is no easy task. The Peek app can be used as monitoring and evaluation software. We’ll show you how this works in this blog.

The power of observation

Monitoring is all about recording observations. Whether you focus on reforestation, rainwater harvesting, or community development: growth can only be observed through systematic collection of evidence. “Seeing is believing”, or more elegantly:

“Facts have to be discovered by observation, not by reasoning”

Bertrand Russell, Nobel-prize winning analytic philosopher
Monitoring and Evaluation Software used in Ethiopia.

So: systematic observations. Sounds easy right? Unfortunately anyone who has worked with long field campaigns knows of all the different ways it can go wrong…

  • Trouble pinpointing exact landmarks through time (and through staff changes!)
  • Subjective evaluations – especially when working with different team members.
  • Digitising field notes, while keeping a tidy, complete, and accessible record for the entire team.
  • Field notes on paper sheets are soaked by a rainstorm (or eaten by an animal).

How about monitoring & evaluation software that solves all the above gremlins at the same time?

Geolocalised field evidence – Peek as M&E tool

We’re living in a time of unprecedented connectivity. It’s hard to find any place without phones and internet/GPS coverage. The Peek app harnesses this potential to create a revolutionary M&E tool.

Originally developed and finetuned by educational use, Peek offers the possibility to map your points of interest. When you visit these points in real life, a predefined set of questions pop up, and the app saves the answers.

Example of field work where the Peek app is used as Monitoring and Evaluation Software.

This is where it gets interesting: Peek stores all your field evidence directly in a central database. And not just text and numbers – the app allows field pictures as well. Moreover, geolocalisation becomes a non-issue. Peek uses mobile GPS to guide you to the points, and makes sure all the answers are actually filled out at that exact spot. šŸ“Œ

(Including location, time and date stamps! So no room for freeriding M&E forms from behind a desk šŸ˜‰.)

Monitoring and evaluation in the Ethiopian countryside

Field trip designer Anton Pijl recently used Peek as monitoring and evaluation software in Ethiopia. As part of his assignment with Cambisol, he collected field evidence at 40 predefined points across a 150-hectares project site. Besides exploring the boundaries of the stunning valley, he also put the app to the test: does Peek work in rural Africa?

On-site monitoring and Evaluation Software.

Results were very convincing: the required field photos and measurements were all stored in a single database for analysis back home. While GPS accuracy can be a limiting factor in these conditions, the advantage of using Peek is the option to tailor the survey to preference, including the location radius.

And the best part? Next year the survey is directly ready for use again! And the same points will be easy to find, despite the evolving landscape due to pouring rains and hungry wildlife. šŸ˜