Using mobile phone surveys to track resilience and post-disaster recovery: a how-to guide

  • By Johannes von Engelhardt, Lindsey Jones
  • 16/01/2020

Global Devlab, 2018


One of the many opportunities for mobile surveys to support the development sector comes in tracking resilience and post-disaster recovery. Collecting information in disaster-affected regions is often dangerous, costly and time consuming. This is where mobile surveys have a real advantage: offering cheaper ways of remotely contacting individuals, often in near-real-time. Mobile surveys remove many of the logistical and safety challenges of coordinating large household survey exercises (which are crucial for fragile and conflict affected areas). They can also make it much easier to reach people who are on the move, such as pastoral communities or those fleeing a shock-event.

The growth in popularity of mobile phone surveys, for both Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and research efforts, has led to a rise in studies dealing with the methodological and logistical questions facing this new form of applied social research (Dabalen et al., 2016; Gibson et al., 2017; Greenleaf et al., 2017; L’Engle et al., 2017; Mahfoud et al., 2015; Leo et al., 2015). Many of these insights empirically build on the experiences and lessons from recent large-scale mobile phone surveys.

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