Journal Article


Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable

Published on 12 April 2013

Growth in the use of real time digital information for monitoring has been rapid in developing countries across all the social sectors, and in the health sector has been remarkable. Commonly these Real Time Monitoring (RTM) initiatives involve partnerships between the state, civil society, donors and the private sector. There are differences between partners in understanding of objectives,and divergence occurs due to adoption of specific technology-driven approaches and because profit-making is sometimes part of the equation.

With the swarming, especially of pilot mHealth initiatives, in many countries there is risk of chaotic disconnects, of confrontation between rights and profits, and ofoverall failure to encourage appropriate alliances to build sustainable and effective national RTM systems. What is needed is a country-led process for strengthening the quality and equity sensitivity of real-time monitoring initiatives. We propose the development of an effective learning and action agenda centred on the adoption of common standards.

IDS, commissioned and guided by UNICEF Division of Policy and Strategy, has carriedout a multi-country assessment of initiatives that collect high frequency and/or time-sensitive data on risk, vulnerability and access to services among vulnerable children and populations and on the stability and security of livelihoods affected by shocks. The study, entitled Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable (RTMMV), began with a desk review of existing RTMinitiatives and was followed up with seven country studies (Bangladesh, Brazil,Romania, Senegal, Uganda, Vietnam and Yemen) that further explored and assessed promising initiatives through field-based review and interactive stakeholder workshops. This IDS Bulletin brings together key findings from this research.

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Foreword Martin Greeley, Henry Lucas and Jingqing Chai

Introduction: Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable – Investing in Common Guidance for Equity and Quality Martin Greeley, Henry Lucas, Jingqing Chai and Matthew Cummins

Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable: Concepts and Methods Henry Lucas, Martin Greeley and Keetie Roelen

Real Time Monitoring and the New Information Technologies Henry Lucas, Simon Batchelor and Evangelia Berdou


The RIM Initiative in Vietnam: ‘Prioritise Rapid Results rather than Publishable Results’ Henry Lucas and Jay Chaudhuri

Real Time Monitoring in Romania: Part of the Bigger Picture Keetie Roelen


Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable: UNICEF’s Experience in Uganda Matthew Cummins and Barbara Huddleston

Lessons from Senegal’s Database System for Case Management for Child Protection: A Pilot Project on Web-based and Mobile Technology Jerker Edström, with Amadou Moreau and Xavier R. Sire

Real Time Monitoring with Indigenous Peoples: Technical, Social and Political Challenges, and Lessons from Brazil Alex Shankland, Maria Elvira Toledo, Adriana Barbosa and Maria Ferreira Bittencourt

Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable: Pre-Primary Education in Bangladesh Mahmuda Akhter and Jay Chaudhuri


Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable:Yemen Social Protection Monitoring Survey 2011–2012 Tammy Smith

Real Time Monitoring in Disasters Nigel Scott and Simon Batchelor


Martin Greeley

Research Fellow

Henry Lucas

Research Fellow

Evangelia Berdou

Research Fellow

Keetie Roelen

IDS Honorary Associate

Jerker Edström

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Greeley, M., Lucas, H. and Chai, J.
Greeley, M. Lucas, H. and Chai, J.
IDS Bulletin, volume 44, issue 2


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