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TextIt for Education in Emergency in Vietnam (TextIt for EiE)

TextIt for EiE is an ICT solution for rapid data collection during an emergency.

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What problem does your innovation solve?

When disasters hit, it usually takes up to 1-month to collect data on impact of disaster to education, making education inequities worse. However, if education is supported before, during and after a disaster, it can save lives, protect children and benefit communities and countries. Provision and access to reliable data is central to solving this issue. Our innovation seeks to promote immediate humanitarian support to disaster affected schools to resume classes as soon as possible.

Explain your innovation.

TextIt for EiE is a remote data collection system that uses Short Messages Services (SMS) surveys developed through TextIt. It works by sending (before, during and after disasters) a series of questions to school head masters or directors via SMS who can then reply with the required information. The data is processed quickly and provides a real time picture of the situation. To confirm the feasibility of our idea, Save the Children developed and tested a prototype in 17 affected schools during the 2016 floods in central Vietnam in coordination with the provincial Department of Education and Training (DOET). The initial findings confirm that TextIt for EiE represents a rapid and cost-effective way to generate top-line information on the preparedness level of schools; the impact of disasters on education assets and educational continuity; and capacities and gaps in school-led education response in the aftermath of a disaster. To ensure the sustainability of our innovation, we partner with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), as the main government agency for education. We are working with MOET to integrate this innovation into their existing system. By partnering with MOET, a nationwide adaptation of TextIt for EiE is possible.

Who benefits?

School children will benefit by having their needs quickly responded during disasters- allowing return to school and minimizing disruption to learning following a disaster. At least 627 schools and 239,390 students (122,309 girls-117,081 boys) in the 3 target provinces are expected to benefit during the project period. MOET and humanitarian organisations will benefit by having real time information they need. MOET’s Department for school safety and school principals at district and commune levels will be the typical users of TextIt. We will target girls by adjusting survey questions to focus to their needs. Our proposed scale at this stage in development includes enhancing TextIt for EiE application for schools early warning systems, enhancing its features for the needs of girls, synchronizing TextIt to MOET’s MIS and developing local capacity to manage and maintain the system for scale-up. We will conduct a randomized comparative study of provinces to measure TextIt for EiE success.

How is your innovation unique?

In Vietnam, we are the first humanitarian agency to: 1) use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for rapid data collection in emergency response, 2) capture data to enhance education continuity 3) ensure rapid data collection meets the unique needs of girls. Aside from MOET’s Management Information System (MIS), there is no other technology or online data collection tool in use in Vietnam for EiE. MOET’s MIS is internet based and relies mainly on conventional data collection for input, which may not be possible during emergencies with limited power and internet connectivity. MOET’s MIS is not efficient to provide timely information that would lead to timely implementation of emergency response. Based on results of our 2016 pilot, it is only through the unique features of TextIt for EiE that information can be collected in real time and emergency response can be implemented timely and effectively allowing the disaster affected schools to resume classes as soon as possible.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

1. How to address the carrier or gateway limitations in deploying Textit for EiE at national scale? 2. Are there any government limitations in deploying Textit for EiE at national scale?

Tell us more about you.

Save the Children is one of the leading independent global organizations for children. Founded in 1919, we work in 120 countries around the world. We have been working in Vietnam for 26 years, implementing humanitarian and development programs. This innovation will be handled by our Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian team who has strong technical experience in this field. We will partner with MOET and DOET in implementation.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Extreme drought

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Vietnam is disaster prone with 6-10 storms per year, together with other disasters like landslides and drought. The impact of disasters is significant and the Education sector is one of the most heavily affected. For instance, repeated floods from October to December 2016 in the Central region submerged hundreds of schools, majority of which had to close for 2-3 days and classes were disrupted for 10 to 16 days. Damage to schools is estimated to have a value of 5.4 million USD.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

With the expected adoption from MOET, there is potential that this technology will scale all throughout the disaster prone areas in Vietnam. However, as part of the development process, we will concentrate on working with MOET at the national level and with DOET in 3 pilot provinces- Dien Bien, Quang Binh and Ca Mau Provinces. We plan to use lean and agile approaches, through regular sprint cycles and rapid prototyping and testing with users.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

As one of the leading organizations for humanitarian response, we are an active member of the Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG). We have taken the lead in the advocacy for Education Safe from Disaster (ESD) together with UNICEF and other INGOs working on DRR. Through our various programs, we have established partnership with MOET and DOET in several provinces where we implement school based DRR. We plan to leverage this partnership for the implementation of this innovative idea.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

This innovation is relevant to humanitarian and education sectors, which are key components of our regular programming, where we have significant in-country expertise. Our education program focuses on providing support to access quality education among disadvantaged children, while our humanitarian response is focuses on providing support to the education sector. This innovation will have a unique contribution to our efforts to ensure the continuity of education of vulnerable children.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

The implementation of this idea will be handled by the team in Vietnam and will be supported by Technical Advisors based in Australia.

Website

https://vietnam.savethechildren.net/ https://www.savethechildren.org.au/

How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

After testing a prototype during the 2016 flood in Quang Binh Province, the feedback made clear the need to develop our solution to support the current DRR and EiE Policy and action plan. During recent consultations with MOET officials, we confirmed that integration could take place between Textit for EiE and the MOET's new Disaster Information Management (DIM) System - a online database for DRR and EiE performance indicators across schools in Vietnam.

Who will implement this Idea?

Save the Children will support integration and capacity building of Textit for EiE within MOET. Two SC full time national staff, with expertise in ICT and EiE, will train and mentor of a group of MOET staff dedicated to innovation in DRR/EiE. This core group of MOET staff will be central to our strategy to institutionalize innovation. With guidance and technical support from SC staff, the MOET core group will function as an 'idea lab' to encourage Textit adoption and training for 50% of targeted schools, then develop an Textit innovation toolkit to be tested in the remaining 50% schools.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

Technical challenges – During the pilot, we used standard SIM Cards to send the TextIt for EiE surveys, the large number of messages sent triggered the filters from the Telecom Companies which prevented the survey reaching some respondents. To deploy ‘bulk’ SMS, a few thousand messages per hour, we need acquire short code through a local gateway service or aggregator who typically establish short codes on each major network (Viettel, Vinaphone and Vietnamobile). Registration - The pilot revealed that end users change their mobile phone numbers frequently. To ensure that data is collected from all targeted schools, we will work with MOET staff to register official mobile numbers of focal points in each school. Prior to disaster season, the register will be updated from the DIM system.

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

To encourage and sustain innovation in MOET, Textit for EiE will focus on collaborative innovation between MOET, Save the Children and mobile operators (Viettel, Vinaphone and Vietnamobile), by leveraging the pool of expertise and knowledge. We will promote a culture of innovation and human-centered design by training and mentoring MOET staff to develop a deeper knowledge of how Textit for EiE can help them to do their jobs more efficiently. In order to better direct MOET investments, we will utilize an evidence-based approach through prototyping, and design of user feedback and research.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

IMPACT: "By 2021, TextIt for EiE is fully integrated within Vietnam's MOET Disaster Information Management System and enables 627 schools to be disaster ready and to minimize disruptions to learning for 239,390 students (122,309 girls-117,081 boys). QUESTION: "How do we scale this innovation to support a regional model to ensure educational continuity in the Asia-Pacific region?

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

OUTCOME 1: MOET staff have capacity to execute Textit within the disaster information management system for school-led post-disaster response and recovery -Textit enables us to track the number of end-users who take part in the project through response and completion of SMS surveys. OUTCOME 2: MOET scales up Textit to minimize disruptions to learning, and support full recovery of schools impacted by disaster. - During cyclone seasons, we will assess how fast MOET gather and use data

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Year 1 to 1.5: Establish MOET staff-led innovation lab and jointly implement and adapt at provincial level, ideally in 3 provinces with different geographic and risk profiles ( mountainous, central coastal and Mekong delta) Year 1.5 to Year 3: Creation of user friendly data infrastructure, toolkits and datasets for Textit in EiE; Integration of TextIt for EiE within DIM; Leverage data to be 'open' and amplify impact of government, public and private partner response to disaster.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Above $1,000,000 USD

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Development / Partnerships Support
  • Business Model Support
  • Program/Service Design
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Attachments (2)

Textlt for EiE Vietnam-2016 Flood Response.pdf

Textit for EiE Flood Response prototype

VNM - TextIt for EiE.pdf

TextIt for EiE

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Photo of Dave Hughes
Team

Hi Nayomi, this is a great idea! My name is David Hughes and I am the Project Director for the Bendigo Inventor Awards.

Now in our 7th year, the Bendigo Inventor awards have as our focus inventions that address needs in the Emergency Services and Disaster Management space, and we offer a AUD$10,000 prize for the winning entry. The Bendigo Inventor Awards has also created an environment for inventors to obtain support for their ideas by bringing together a coalition of partners with the knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate the progression of ideas from concept through to commercialisation. Major Program Partners include Engineers Australia who are providing technical feedback, KPMG who are offering advice on commercial viability and the path to commercialisation and Red Cross, who are providing their perspective on the relevance of many inventions to disaster relief efforts. Our judging panel also contains representatives from Emergency Management Victoria, who are able to provide similar feedback on the applicability of inventions to the emergency services.

I believe your idea would be a fantastic entry into the awards. Applying is easy and can be done through our website www.bendigoinventorawards.com.au/apply. Simply select the category that your invention applies to – ‘Concept’ or ‘Product and Prototype’, and answer some questions about your invention. All judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so your idea is protected. Entries close 5pm Friday 29th September 2017 AEST.

I very much look forward to seeing your invention go on to great success, and hope we are able to assist you in enabling that to happen. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch on the phone number above, or via my email at dhughes@bebendigo.com.au.

Regards,
David Hughes
Project Director
Bendigo Inventor Awards

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