M&E Thursday Talk – Using Tech to Collect Data in Dangerous Contexts, Lessons from Burundi – 03.24.16

On March 24, 2016 DME for Peace was pleased to host Britney Nemecek of Search for Common Ground Burundi, who led a discussion on How Technology Can Provide Access To Data when the Context is Too Dangerous for Field Collection, Examples and Lessons from Using SMS in Burundi.

During the recent electoral violence in Burundi, Search for Common Ground’s (SFCG) data collection for Conflict Scans was temporarily interrupted in order to guarantee the security of research participants during a highly volatile period. In order to help fill this important gap in conflict research and monitoring, SFCG teamed up with UNICEF to use an innovative new approach to conflict monitoring. By capitalizing on UNICEF’s U-Report SMS reporting system SFCG was able to supplement missing data with a more lightweight, rapid methodology that improved respondent security.

The Conflict Scan, which employs a mixed methodology of surveys and key informant focus group discussions, was drilled down to only 4 key questions; each of which could be asked via 160 characters or less, via multiple-choice SMS messages. The rapid Conflict Pulse was able to cover 4 key pillars, including: current levels of social cohesion, security perceptions, security optimism, and perceptions of the education system’s contribution to youth resiliency to violent conflict. Mapping responses by province enabled targeted follow up research and programming by UNICEF and Search for Common Ground.


Ethics and M&E in the Digital Age: Collecting Data in Dangerous Contexts, Lessons from Burundi from DME for Peace on Vimeo.


Click here to view the Powerpoint.  (link is external)

About the Speaker:

Britney Nemecek is SFCG Burundi’s Conflict Sensitivity Specialist. Her background includes over 6 years of management experience, including 4 years of both theoretical and practical experience in the field of DM&E. She has worked on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda.  She has been living in Burundi for the past 2 years, and as such has an intimate understanding of the current conflict context and its evolutions.

Britney has supported DM&E work for projects in 7 African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, and Burundi. These projects have spanned many development sectors, including anti-human trafficking, extractive mining, public health, education, agriculture, and most importantly, peacebuilding. Her body of work includes qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and participatory methodologies.

In her current role, Britney conducts regular field-based data collection and high quality reporting using the SFCG conflict scan methodology for SFCG’s UNICEF funded PBEA project, Impore Iwacu.  In addition, Britney provides technical support through training workshops and support missions on conflict sensitivity, DM&E, and the principles of Do No Harm to PBEA partners, as well as internally for other projects, both in and out of Burundi.

Britney holds a B.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in international human rights and sustainable country development from the American University of Paris, and a M.A. in International Policy Studies with a specialization in conflict resolution from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

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