Improved access to tools and guidelines for data collection: Get that overview!

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A new structure for the N2Africa intranet is online. Especially information on agronomy activities and data collection is now easier to find and access. Although only N2Africa staff can access the intranet, we also give others a look behind the scenes on how we structure and improve information flows in N2Africa.

It is the beginning of the season. Data collection is high on the priority lists of all N2Africa staff. There are input distribution lists, field books for adaptation trials, forms for diagnostic trials, surveys for agro-dealers and many more. But who does what? When should we collect these data? And where can we find the data forms? How should we fill them in? Do we have to take soil samples at this farm or not? And what about these new electronic devices on which we use Open Data Kit (ODK)? You can already see that data collection in a project such as N2Africa is not straightforward. We collect many different types of data, and every type needs to be collected in its own specific way.

We have already taken many steps to smoothen the data collection process. Data forms are simpler, there are accompanying guidelines and data collection on tablets will speed up data delivery. However, the variety of different data to be collected remains a challenge to those working in the field. How will everybody get a clear overview of all data collection activities throughout the season and at the same time easily access the tools and guidelines?

The place to be is the updated intranet. From the homepage there is a direct link to ‘Data and data collection’, under which N2Africa field staff will find all links to the information that can guide them through the data collection processes, from pre-season to post-season. There is a new overview in which all N2Africa country coordinators and staff see what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and by whom (Figure 1). From there, all necessary tools, guidelines and protocols for the different types of trials and data collection activities are only a mouse click away.


Figure 1. Overview of data collection for the Adaptation trials as presented on the N2Africa intranet. This is part of the larger overview on data collection.

The new Intranet structure is now online ( This link is only accessible after log into the N2 intranet.) Only the overview for the continuous collection of data for Monitoring and Evaluation is still pending. We invite all N2Africa staff to check out the new overview of what needs to be done during the season. We also invite you to let us know if and how we can improve. Last but not least, thumbs up for all those involved in data collection in N2Africa: you are the key to N2Africa’s ability to learn from its activities!

Greta van den Brand, Esther Ronner, Marcel Lubbers and Joost van Heerwaarden. Do not hesitate to contact us in case you have questions or comments on the intranet!