Nielsen and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, worked together on a year-long pro bono project to revolutionize WFP’s mobile data collection process. As part of Nielsen’s commitment to using its data for social good through Nielsen Cares, its global corporate social responsibility program, a team of Nielsen measurement science associates worked to help WFP revolutionize its data collection efforts. The effort enhanced WFP’s solely in-person interview process by integrating remote mobile data collection technology into the agency’s survey tools.
Data is critical to the success of WFP’s ongoing relief and support efforts because the organization plans its operations and prioritizes its assistance based on the information it collects. When physical access for face-to-face interviews is limited because of conflict, disease or other risks, carrying out its programs becomes difficult.
To assist in this effort, Nielsen provided guidance and support in four key areas: data collection, methodology, analysis and in-country expertise. The team employed Nielsen measurement science methodology with a clear focus on maintaining the quality of WFP data to support its hunger relief efforts.
The collaboration resulted in outcomes that aligned with the initial project goal of building the agency’s digital capacity. In addition, WFP and Nielsen each took away some unexpected learnings because the project provided an opportunity to test new methodologies and realize the impact of new applications. The Nielsen team learned innovative ways to apply its knowledge, while WFP gained a more sophisticated level of expertise in mobile data collection that its project teams around the world will continue to use for years to come.
WFP can now collect data at a much lower cost and do its work much quicker and efficiently. WFP can collect data for less than half of what it used to spend, saving US$200,000-$300,000 that it would have spent on face-to-face questionnaires. The agency can also turn-around surveys in less than a week, representing an 83% reduction from the typical four-to-six-week timeframe.
The successful outcomes of the project open up the possibility of extending WFP’s remote data collection activities to the 30 chronically food insecure countries where it supports food security monitoring projects. The organization is also now well-positioned to leverage the opportunities to inform global plans to fight hunger.
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