A DIY mobile research tool launched in Kenya


If you have tried to gather data or conduct research in Kenya, you may stumble into a problem that faces many researchers, post-graduate students, corporations, NGO’s, the Government and other agencies: The lack of reliable data that is up to date and relevant. Without data, decisions will be based on guess work and luck.

But a Kenyan company has come up with an innovative solution for individuals and organizations seeking information through a simple Do It Yourself (DIY) mobile technology. Through their SMS-web platform (to officially start on May 1), anyone can easily set up a questionnaire using a web account and collect data from mobile users.

“We have made the system and process easy, accessible and affordable to everyone. Our mission in creating this tool is to enable anyone to conduct their research,” says Kenfield Griffith, mSurvey CEO

mSurvey is probably the first data company in the region to give power of gathering knowledge and insights directly to the individual on any mobile phone.

An infograph created by mSurvey from research they have done of public transport
An infograph created by mSurvey from research they have done of public transport

“We believe real-time, actionable data can have significant benefits to innovation, creativity, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. We have market tested our technology for over 2 years and have had great success at keeping it simple and friendly to use. We now want the rest of Kenya to join in the fun with data,” explains Griffith.

The new DIY research tool allows users of feature phones to answer questions through a simple feedback process with the cost of the SMS reply catered for by the researcher.

Griffith demonstrated how the tool works at the launch, which was attended by communication and information PS. Bitange Ndemo. In less than 10 minutes, Griffith set up a questionnaire to get feedback on Dr. Ndemo’s speech from the audience. The ‘respondents’ replied by text and the results displayed on a screen in real time, complete with CSV files and tabulated graphs.

Dr. Ndemo said that such tools and technologies will help the government and other players collect reliable data quickly which will inform practical solutions to most of the problems the country faces.

The mSurvey DIY platform promises to shake the research world from its comfort zone and bringing excitement to real-time data. By developing an SMS based data gathering tool, information seekers can get direct response from any of the country’s 30 million mobile phone subscribers.

“Our team is committed to the advancement of Kenya as a global economic player. We have a new constitution and a new government that is committed to fostering a knowledge-based economy. The mSurvey DIY tool is the first of many products we’re offering as a sign of our dedication to our country’s development goals,”says Louis Majanja, the Head of Product Development.

The consumer DIY tool is the second product mSurvey is launching having successfully deployed the enterprise version which uses large scale SMS mobile surveys and interactive mobile applications to collect, visualize and represent data across emerging markets.

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