Digital Data Collection in Burundi

Tool Information

MAX Report is a qualitative reporting tool for observers. Based on a secure and solid web-based structure the report format enables observer groups to get a fast and reliable summary of the key findings from the field in real-time. This will ensure that the quality of observer reports is enhanced and enable the maximisation of observer input throughout the election observation period into overall mission analysis. All questions, analytical frameworks, search and viewing/mapping functionalities are fully customizable.
  • Number of Users:60+
  • Location:Burundi
  • Launch Year:2015
  • Current version:2.0.1
  • Architects:Ruth & Michael
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Project Description

The EDGE Foundation was requested to provide a solution for the data collection needs of a very unique UN election observation mission that took place in 2015. Taking note of request from the Government of Burundi, the UN Security Council mandated at the end of 2014 the UN Secretariat to deploy a year-long electoral observation mission to observe the entire Burundian electoral process before, during and after the 2015 electoral cycle, from voter registration to the end of the electoral complaints for five different set of electoral races. Very rarely does the UN deploy an observation mission, and this one was set up 14 years after the previous one in Fiji in 2001.

Implementation Challenges

The UN Election Observation Mission to Burundi needed to collect electoral data over a very long span of time, which was it in itself a big challenge for an organization that had not been mandated to observe elections for such long time. More importantly, this was a truly long-term observation mission and not a standard three/four-month effort as it is normally the case in international electoral observation. This required the data collection solution to be be robust, reliable and include activities that are normally not part of an international electoral observation mission’s mandate. Such activities that were of specific relevance for the UN Mission were voter registration, political party and candidates registration and a protracted monitoring of the media landscape. Hence the need to design a very flexible system for field data collection with the goal of allowing a meshing of quantitative and qualitative data collection while still facilitating by comparative and specific sectorial analysis. The main challenges the EDGE Foundation solved in designing the data-collection solution were the following:

  • Collect qualitative data never taken into account by international EOMs before
  • Decentralised data cleaning and data-validation requirements
  • Allow cross-sectorial data analysis and comparative discussions before validation
  • Determine weighing of different electoral phases according to electoral obligations
  • Customized options to allow for automated field reporting on different electoral components
  • Allow Mission’s hierarchy to remotely monitor and oversee data analysis on secure pages

What We Did

Starting from overall national, regional and international obligations subscribed by Burundian authorities, we creted comprehensive sets of questions for every single phase of the electoral process for the Mission’s leadership to choose the most relevant ones to be applied for each phase and by each electoral areas. The different data collection forms were also provided with the options to leave the decision on the respective weighing of each phase to the mission’s hierarchy. The data storage and archiving options were designed to allow decentralized and even offline archiving. Delivery of remote tutorials for training the field coordination unit of the Mission on forms filling, data cleaning and validation.

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