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Mobile Data Collection toolbox

1 Introduction

Faced with unprecedented needs for programme data to meet donor demands and to monitor and evaluate the programmes they implement, NGOs are increasingly using mobile data collection tools to gather quantitative data in the field. This toolkit aims to provide guidelines, best practices and tutorials.

It was first produced jointly by Terre des hommes (Tdh) and CartONG in 2018 and published initially on the MDC-toolkit website before being transferred to the CartONG IM resource portal. This new toolkit has been updated and expanded to cover the entire MDC life cycle.

How to use it?

As setting up a data collection through MDC can be very time consuming and also if misused be counterproductive- this toolkit will first off help you decide when it is appropriate to design a survey using MDC and when it is not. There may sometimes be uses that are not fully adapted or should be looked at carefully (for qualitative data for example) or situations where for the protection of populations or staff it would be problematic.

Once your choice of MDC has been decided, this toolkit has been designed to follow the chronological flow of a Mobile Data Collection, from defining the needs to closing the loop by retaining, archiving or deleting the data collected. You should therefore hopefully find in this content most of the information you need to conduct a MDC, as well as additional resources for each stage of the collection if you wish to go further.

The toolbox is divided into 11 modules:

This toolkit often refers to the Data Analysis toolkit, which provides an understanding of the basic principles and tricks of data analysis. It will also send back to :

It also links to other general resources on Mobile Data Collection in particular:


This toolbox was initially jointly written by CartONG and Terre des hommes, and has since been improved over the years by CartONG.

Created in 2006, CartONG is a French H2H/support NGO specialized in Information Management. Our goal is to put data at the service of humanitarian, development and social action projects. We are dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of field activities, in particular through better needs assessments and monitoring and evaluation. We act as a multidisciplinary resources and expertise centre, accompanying our partners’ strategies and operations. Our staff and volunteers also support the community as a whole by producing documentation, building capacities and raising awareness on the technical, strategic and ethical challenges of digital technologies.

The updated version of this toolbox was produced as part of the project “Strengthening Information Management within francophone CSOs” led by CartONG and co-financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) over the 2019-2022 period. For more information, see the article published on our website or contact us by email.


This publication is supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) and Terre des Hommes (Tdh). Nevertheless, the ideas and opinions presented in this toolbox do not necessarily represent those of AFD and Tdh.

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This toolbox was designed using resources from and The Noun Project.