Collection of data on African Development Bank projects in Sudan will now be an easier and faster exercise following the bank’s launch of the Remote Appraisal, Supervision, Monitoring and Evaluation (RASME) initiative.
The RASME platform makes it possible to collect field data remotely throughout a project lifecycle. It uses such electronic devices as smartphones, tablets and laptops to generate information in various digital formats. These include texts, images, figures and videos.
Launched in November 2022 in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, this new digital platform will make work easier for government officials, project implementing units, development partners and African Development Bank operations staff, who are often required to collect data on bank-funded projects.
The launch took place on the sidelines of a three-day training workshop for stakeholders of bank projects. The bank’s chief regional IT coordinator for East Africa, Francis Kohoue, coordinated the workshop, together with bank consultant Gaspard Dodo and IT officer Ibrahim Mohamed.
The bank’s country manager in Sudan, Mary Monyau, underscored the importance of RASME in portfolio management. She said: “Effective portfolio management, anchored on reliable, accessible, and timely data, is fundamental for attaining project results. RASME is a key element in achieving the desired operational excellence in portfolio management.”
Monyau added that RASME would provide task managers, project coordinators, monitoring and evaluation units and partners in the field with a systematic methodology for collecting data that can be verified using geo-location and timestamps, stored securely, and analyzed.
Many participants lauded the timing of the training.
The director of international financial institutions in Sudan’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Alamin Abuelgasim Adam, said: “The RASME training has come at the right time when we are experiencing challenges in the collection of information in some parts of the country due to insecurity. The Government of Sudan has embraced technology and will adopt the tool. Through this tool, the government can obtain information about projects promptly. Through the new tool, monitoring and evaluation will be improved.”
Other participants said the tool would be beneficial in the face of travel restrictions necessitated by Covid-19. The African Development Bank’s country program officer in Sudan, Maurice Wanyama, said: “RASME will be useful in any pandemic context, such as Covid-19, where traveling to project sites may be limited. The tool will benefit projects in remote sites with security challenges, rough terrains, or other logistic constraints.
Suada Mohamed Elsayed, the monitoring and evaluation officer of the Education System and Skills Development project financed by the bank, described RASME as a user-friendly tool that combines all options for data collection, analysis and reporting.
The bank is currently implementing RASME in 14 African countries. It plans to extend the platform to other countries to support stakeholders in preparing projects more effectively, tracking progress, and evaluating their impact on beneficiary communities openly and transparently.