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Back 2 BaseX: Strengthening database inputs to catalyze youth outputs

Our team will strengthen Malawi's health systems by building the capacity of data system usability and actionable programming.

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Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • Data

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

Data reporting systems in Malawi are underutilized. The largest database (DHIS II) contains little to no disaggregated data concerning youth SRH. This project aims to harness collaboration amongst NGOs and the MoH along with improving data usage and sharing.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address? (500 character limit)

How can we motivate database users to update DHIS II regularly? To avoid redundancy, how can we thoroughly scope this project and partner with the right stakeholders? What are limiting factors to creating disaggregated indicators within the youth sector in Malawi? How can we create an initiative that is sustainable in the long term (is it necessary to create a mentorship or supervision program to avoid drop out?) What is the best way to address power blackouts as a threat to database usage?

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

Ultimately, adolescents and youth (ages 10 - 24) in Malawi will benefit the most from the project in the long term. In the short to midterm, our end users are partners and database users. With regularly updated data consisting of specific and disaggregated indicators, NGOs and the MoH will have the ability to conduct needs-based assessments without pouring funds into individual data collection campaigns. Transparency and shareability will enhance collaborative efforts amongst implementing partners, catalyzing informed and efficiently coordinated movements towards improving youth SRH. Partners with the capacity to identify gaps in services will more likely implement innovative and impactful services, increasing the organization’s value for money. Once redundant projects merge into higher level projects, Malawi as a whole can begin to progress towards elevating its youth in both health and education realms - realizing the target goals Malawi has set within the demographic dividend.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

The pilot project will work with three independent youth outreach centers and their respective health delivery models in one district. Implementation will take place in three simultaneous stages aimed at addressing current challenges with DHIS II: 1) Working with the MoH and partners to clean and simplify the DHIS II platform, 2) Training DHIS II users to ensure accessibility and knowledge; and 3) Creating accountability and an incentive program to ensure regular data inputs into DHIS II.

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

Our aim is to create a regular flow of health data that will help influence informed and impactful evidence-based services, policies, and projects. Training and capacity building of M&E and IT teams to create/maintain databases, including a better understanding of collection, analysis, and dissemination of quantitative information, will allow partners to easily build bridges between gaps in youth SRH services and developments.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

This initiative addresses the root cause of the problem encompassing the three important limiting factors to DHIS II’s usability and effectiveness. While other programs focus on symptoms of the problem, our objective is to find the cure. In order to achieve best results, our team will collaborate with relevant partners, recognizing the unique strengths of each party to reduce programmatic redundancy.

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Convenience / Accessibility: Making products accessible

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

Success for the end user will be an increase in understanding and usage of DHIS II to collect disaggregated data. We also foresee more collaboration amongst end users due to mutual awareness of best practices and pitfalls in data collection, leading to informed and efficiently coordinated national movements towards improving youth SRH. Clearer and more transparent data will be delivered to the district health officer (DHO) and relevant partners on a timely basis.

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

Improved usability will catalyze an increase in DHIS II users, allowing them to extract precise data at any given time and streamline M&E reporting. The results incurred will allow organizations to update data and programs accordingly, ensuring health equity and quality and value for money of health expenditure. The program will be directly measured by monitoring quantitative inputs over a specified period of time.

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

The team has a close professional relationship with the curators of DHIS II, providing a project entry point and access to targeted end users. Our value proposition creates efficiency and transparency, leading to precise project implementations.

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

Malawi is currently undergoing an extensive decentralization process, meaning that our team will need to work closely with MoH and the district in which we will pilot the project. We will need to create strong working relationships with direct IT contributors that will support database strengthening and training, NGOs and implementing partners offering youth SRH and YFH services, and like-minded stakeholders that can ensure long-term sustainability of the project.

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)

HA+CK (Health Access + Collaborative Knowledge)

Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

We are a small but growing team of young and ambitious global health professionals working with international and national NGOs focused on bringing access and equity to Malawi’s health system. We are inspired by the fact that although Malawi faces important challenges limiting its potential to offer adequate universal SRH services to its youth, the country is continuously building and strengthening its potential to progress. While we are based in Lilongwe, our team comes from all different backgrounds, providing a global perspective on impactful developmental change. Our combined knowledge in varying realms including IT, public health, politics, and business has provided a solid foundation for conceptualizing and realizing big ideas.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Locally/community-led organization
  • International/global organization

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

The project will be implemented in the district of Ntcheu in Malawi due to a strong relationship with the District Health office and high number of NGOs focused on youth SRH in the region.

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

An initial assessment and full market scoping will determine our costed work plan. Human and intellectual resources will be required to address issues regarding the database itself, in the form of IT personnel and a team of instructors to conduct database trainings. The program needs to facilitate procurement and distribution of computers or tablets to users. Our team strives to meet best standards with frugal measures with the goal of minimizing costs and maximizing outputs at every level.

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • It is still in planning phase and does not exist yet.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for less than one year.

Expertise in Sector

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

Organization Location (200 character limit)

We are based in Lilongwe, Malawi.

What is your organizational status?

  • We are not formally registered but are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

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


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