Study on potentials of mobile phones in investment and development projects

This study is one of the results of the “Sustainable Livelihood Development Project” being implemented in Kenya by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) under FAO funding.

The project has developed a mobile phone based monitoring system, which provides a number of key services, including real time reporting of the performance of the Livelihood Farmer Field Schools (LFFS) and LFFS facilitators. The system is designed in such a way that data is sent by mobile phone to a web-based database that automatically processes and aggregates the summary data for presentation through the project’s web-site. The mobile phone system is also being used to issue rapid payments to field staff for travel expenses and by investment groups for repayment of loans received through the project.

In the past, Farmer Field School (FFS) projects typically tasked FFS facilitators to prepare monthly reports in a paper format. However, such a reporting method does not allow timely interventions to improve performance of LFFSs and facilitators. In addition, it is very difficult to monitor the performance of LFFSs, which often take place in remote areas which are sometime inaccessible to vehicles during the rainy season.

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