It is an established best practice for development organisations to conduct benchmarking research (also known as a ‘situation analysis’ or ‘baseline survey’) before initiating a project or other development intervention. This paves the road to sound planning of activities, to monitoring and evaluating the effects of projects and programmes, and to carry out adaptive programming. RHoMIS is now a proven tool for such benchmarking assessments.
In this article, we report on how our partners used the RHoMIS survey to conduct a situational analysis in order to facilitate the identification and planning of locally-relevant development investments.
Editor: We are excited today to announce our first public release of RHoMIS data and corresponding article in the journal Nature. The dataset includes surveys from over 13,000 households in 21 countries. In this article, Mark van Wijk shares about the release and how you can access the data.
Dan works for the RHoMIS team in Bristol, UK, processing and analysing household survey data to provide insight. He has a background in economic geography and development both in the UK and internationally.
Editor: We are pleased to welcome a new member to the RHoMIS team, Dan Milner. Joining us at the end of 2019, Dan has already injected fresh energy, expertise and a passion for GIS and data management. In this brief article he shares a little of his background, where he has already used RHoMIS extensively in his Postgraduate studies, as well as what he hopes to achieve in the role.
Editor: Léo has been an invaluable member of the RHoMIS team, adding a thorough systems-thinking approach to our data analysis, skilled programming, and on top of that, an amazing fun attitude full of adventure! As he is begins his RHoMIS-related PhD, we have asked him to mark the transition with a new blog post. We are grateful for all he has given RHoMIS so far, and wish him the best as he begins these further studies.
Our RHoMIS work has led to a unique harmonised database of quantitative information on smallholder livelihoods in low and middle income countries (now containing interviews of more than 28,000 households in 31 countries). We are now in full force analysing these data to identify pathways towards food security, and underpin strategic studies trying to identify the drivers of diverse diets and possible trade offs between agricultural production intensification and key welfare indicators like gender equity.
What is less known is that our RHoMIS research actually originated from work focusing on bringing together existing household survey data from a wide range of projects and using those data to identify common indicators of food security, and farm livelihood characteristics determining food security.
Simon is a PhD candidate hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute and Wageningen University & Research. His research areas include ‘environmental impact assessment’ and ‘food and nutrition security’ in rural communities.
Each entry in the RHoMIS database provides a small insight into the life of a rural household. Research teams go to great lengths to make these snapshots in time as true to life as possible. We design the study – ‘localising’ the survey tool, setting an appropriate sample size and randomising the selection of households. We train a team of interviewers – providing a common understanding of each survey question. Then in implementing the survey, we travel long distances off the beaten track – by foot if necessary – having very personal discussions with rural households two to three times a day for weeks if not months at a time.
Despite these efforts, some aspects of these ‘snapshots in time’ get distorted – resulting in imperfect representations of the rural households’ inputs, outputs, characteristics or wellbeing.
The RHoMIS blog is written by a community of practice. The COP is made up of RHoMIS users and creators from across the world. Here we share their stories of how RHoMIS is helping to record and analyse household data.
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