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COVID-19 Gap Tracker

We use data to track the existing COVID-19 response gaps in communities and share the information with authorities for prompt intervention.

Photo of Leonard Francis Vibbi
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What is the Gap Tracker?

We are using the Gap Tracker tool co-created by Bush Tinker partnership with three other organizations. The tool is used in various communities to collect and analyse data with the aim of identifying COVID-19 Gaps that exist in communities. Furthermore, the information on COVID-19 response gaps existing in communities is shared with authorities, Civil Society Organizations(CSOs), Media houses, and NGOs; in order for them to take prompt action to address COVID-19 response gaps/needs in those communities. 

Why Create a Gap Tracker for COVID-19?

As one of the poorest country in Africa, with a per capital income of just over $500 USD, Sierra Leone has communities that are now affected by both the health and the economic impact of COVID-19. As a result of this, it is crucial that central and local governments, local and international partners have data backed information on how communities are affected by COVID-19. Authorities access to such information highlighting the existing gaps/needs in communities will be effective  to guide a smart COVID-19 response efforts by authorities to meet needs of communities.

Method of Data Collection

We are using Open Data Kits (ODK) to collect data from marginalized communities and use data analysis and visualization tools to get insights from collected data and learn about the various gaps that exist in marginalized communities. ODK tools such as Kobocollect are installed on mobile phones which are then used to collect data. We chose this approach of going to marginalized communities and collect data due to the low internet penetration and the low use of smart phones that would have enabled a remote data collection process. 

Use of Data 

As our commitment to supporting authorities and various organization who are working with marginalized communities, our data sets, analysis and visualization are freely available for public use. We hope to continue aggregating data sets on marginalized communities into a repository that can guide stakeholders through data backed decision making to fill gaps that exist in marginalized communities. 

What is the need are you focusing on?

Gap Tracker tool is currently deployed to address the pain problem of information gap on two fronts, existing between marginalized communities and authorities involved with the overall COVID-19 response efforts. It achieve this by using design research backed by mobile technology to collect data from communities and ascertain the COVID-19 needs/COVID-19 response gaps that exist. 

Insights gathered from analysis of both qualitative and and quantitative data is used to solve authorities need for data on marginalized communities by giving them access to use our data and insights to make informed decision. 

Another need we address is marginalized communities lack of smart phones and access to internet, and illiteracy to enable them meaningfully participate in social media based conversations on gaps they face. As a result of this, we use mobile technology and data collection tools and take it to communities and give them the opportunity to telling us about the gas they experience. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed
  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider
  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

For a country like Sierra Leone adequate resource availability to address needs in communities is lacking. Hence it is prudent that authorities use data to make smart decision on how to allocate resources effectively to support those communities in need and avoid waste or duplicating efforts.That is why a business pivot on community centered design and data collection and analysis is crucial in countries at a disadvantage of adequate resources to guide authorities address needs/gaps in the most relevant and sustainable way. Hence, why we created a civic tool called gap tracker that uses data and design research to find COVID-19 gaps in communities and use the information to draw community intervention insights for authorities to adopt.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

The impact of Gap Tracker is to give voice to marginalized communities through using design research and data analysis and visualization to understand the specific needs of target communities and be able to share those needs with authorities involved in the COVID-19 fight in Sierra Leone. Given the limited resources available for developing world, the use of COVID-19 Gap Tracker by authorities can enable proactive and effective and appropriate need-base resource allocation to marginalize communities. Furthermore, in line with available data, authorities are equipped to have a head start on possible community intervention using insight gathered from our design research outcomes.

What is the name of your business or organization?

COVID-19 Gap Tracker by Bush Tinker

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Gap Tracker is tool created by Bush Tinker. At Bush Tinker, we pride ourselves in putting people and communities at the heart of problem solving. We do this by using data and design research to learn about people and community needs; and meet those needs by mobilizing stakeholder support.

What is your profession?

Civic Technologist and Design Researcher

Where are you located (country)?

Sierra Leone

Where are you located (region)?

  • Western Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Academia/Research
  • Customer Experience/Service
  • Designer(UX/CX/Design Research)
  • Social Work
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Loans
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We will need to make our research data available to organizations working to support marginalized communities. We also would like to work with other organization who are also looking to collect data through conducting surveys on marginalized communities.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

A major barrier lies in getting logistical support to reach out to more vulnerable communities and conduct our data collection and research. At the moment our resources can only reach to small number of communities in Freetown. Our aim is to cover all regions in Sierra Leone so authorities and organizations can have exhaustive and accurate data that can guide their decision making and community intervention processes for marginalized communities

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Based on two surveys/research expedition done in two separate communities, we already have evidence on how data is a powerful tool to inspire and catalyze public discourse and actions directed at supporting communities. Our first research which focused on accessing the COVID-19 response gaps for market women, has succeeded to be to reference of advocacy by citizens, various media houses and Civil Society Organizations. Our data on COVID-19 response gaps on market women was used to guide the Freetown City Council(FCC) to revamp their COVID-19 intervention by intensifying coronavirus sensitization programs for market women and sharing of face masks.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?


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Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Thanks for sharing Leonard your work, I am curious where you hope to go from here?

Photo of Leonard Francis Vibbi

Thanks Ashley. These datasets on COVID-19 Response gaps have been informative in our discussions with relevant stakeholders especially in Freetown, to take action and help the vulnerable communities. My organization will continue to reach out to more vulnerable communities and collect data that would enable stakeholders to take a timely and an informed intervention to support vulnerable communities. What are your thoughts on ways we can strengthen our work?

Photo of Leonard Francis Vibbi

Hi Ashley,
Here is the link to our recent survey for slum community energy/power access. We have been able to share the survey findings with relevant stakeholders in the renewable energy sector and government authorities. We are using data to advocate for stakeholders to take action and understand the importance of energy access as a crucial component to COVID-19 response. Take a look.