Caption: Tablets used with Enketo, Formhub and ODK Collect for the Tunisia Elections

Election Monitoring with Enketo

Using tablets, structured forms, and Enketo to get the facts on an election

NDI has been using Enketo to help collect data overseas, as part of tablet-based observation efforts. Enketo is a great example of an extremely useful, open-source tool, supported by a great community of users and developers. We asked the experts at Enketo to talk to our readers about how their tool works and how their tool supports NGOs working in some of the most remote locations in the world.

Enketo is a versatile tool that can be used by a diverse set of organizations with data collection needs. One advantage of Enketo is that it can be used on mobile phones, tablets, or computers and only requires a modern browser. No specific operating system is required. No installation is required; one only needs a link to the form to begin collecting data. Entering data directly into a form on a device minimizes transcription errors in data collection. When devices are connected to the internet, data is gathered in real time allowing for rapid data analysis. However, Enketo can also work as an offline tool in places where internet connections may be spotty or nonexistent. Data can be uploaded when an internet connection becomes available. For situations where security is a concern, Enketo also has the option to be used as a paper survey. Using a paper copy of the survey during data collection enables faster data entry at a later time.

The National Democratic Institute presents a powerful example of how Enketo can be used to benefit communities in a variety of settings.

NDI has been using Enketo to assist in data collection, and international election observations across the world. Enketo is a free and open-source tool that provides enhanced offline capability for digital data collection in low-technology environments. In late 2014, Enketo was used with Formhub to monitor the Tunisian presidential and parliamentary elections. Most recently, Enketo was used as part of the tablet-based observations for NDI's International Observation Missions during the historic elections in Nigeria.

While NDI uses Formhub for many of their data collection needs, Enketo proved to be a good solution that allowed for the simplification of front-end data cleanup and collection processes. Enketo has been useful in allowing NDI to manage its forms from the web interface, and ultimately has made NDI’s programs more efficient and scalable.

NDI has been able to collect International Election Observation Mission (IOM/EOM) data in near real time using Enketo with formhub and the GeoODK application. During an International Observation Mission, qualified experts from across the globe are selected to monitor specific polling stations across a country. They must then report their findings to a data or command center which is usually located in the capital. Prior to using Enketo, these reports were either written reports or verbal reports to the data center that then had to be transcribed by clerks. While this produced valuable information for the Mission’s post-election statement to be delivered within hours to a few days of the close of the polls, the raw data needed to be quickly processed and analyzed. Enketo enabled NDI to quickly analyze data and view it on a broader scale, resulting in more comprehensive post-election statements.