A logframe-based M&E information system for international development

What is Kashana?

Kashana Demo

Kashana is web-based tool for planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting using logframes.

We have built Kashana to take the pain out of the planning and the monitoring to enable you to spend more time on evaluation, learning, and delivering better results. It has been optimised to work on low-bandwidth connections.

Kashana is for anyone involved in planning, monitoring and evaluating international development interventions:

  • NGOs
  • International development programmes and projects
  • Funder agencies
  • Evaluators
  • People living and working in places with low-bandwidth internet connections
  • Organisations that cannot afford a proprietary or custom-built MEL platform

Request a demo

The more you can tell us about your needs, the better we can help you. What logframe are you using? Who needs access? What stage is the project? What other tools have you tried? What are you using now?

We often use skype or hangouts for demos so include those details.

To request a demo please email kashana@aptivate.org.

Mailing list

Kashana is in active development so if you'd like to be kept up to date, sign up with our newsletter.

Download code

Kashana is open-source so you can download the code for free from GitHub if you wish to host it yourself or make changes for your specific needs.

To install the software you will need an understanding of linux, git and the command line.

If that sounds like hard work, why not request a demo?

What can I do with it?

Kashana makes it easier to do the complex, time-consuming things that every international development organisation has do as part of its management and learning cycle:

Full list of Kashana features

Does it work?

  • Kashana emerged from over ten years of making technology with people living and working in the Global South and working with international development professionals.
  • We created a prototype (called Alfie) and demonstrated it at the Bond 2013 conference
  • Then we developed the concept further with an organisation in Nigeria. Our partner in Nigeria used the tool on their five-year, £26m programme.
  • To find out more email us kashana@aptivate.org

Roadmap & Goals

We want to make Kashana as useful and accessible as possible. Here are some of the things we are planning:

  • Offline mode – for when your internet connection just won't co-operate
  • Data collection integration – import data from surveys and relate it to your indicators
  • Automatic IATI publishing – export and share your data directly
  • History and comments – so you can remember how and why you changed your plan
  • Mobile optimisation – looking good on the small screen

So far we have been funding its development ourselves while re-using open-source code from our client projects. We are looking for funding to help us realise our goals more quickly.

Why?

There is a lack of capacity to do complex task of MEL with integrity which leads to poorer results for people.

As technologists and practitioners, we can help by creating a tool that helps to build MEL capacity, appreciates the complexity of development interventions, and enables us to work to our values (participation, empowerment, accountability, transparency).

At Aptivate we have developed bespoke MEL systems for many organisations over the last decade. We have noticed that the same requirements come up over and over again. We think it will deliver more value to put our expertise (and existing software) into a customisable, open-source tool for everyone to re-use.

There is an opportunity to develop a tool that addresses the challenges of our sector. Kashana will be unique if we can deliver the following value:

  1. Accessibility - works in low bandwidth and offline
  2. Usability - a simple, visual interface
  3. Open-source - you can do what you want with the software, for free
  4. Values-driven and tailored for development practitioners
  5. Flexible and interoperable - enabling interaction with other common tools
  6. Control over security and privacy - we could store data on our own servers

Where is the evidence for the need?

Recent research tells us that:

  • Organisations find it challenging to select appropriate management information systems for MEL because existing systems are not geared towards the international development context and / or they are closed-source with high costs and long-term service agreements [1].
  • Existing open-source tools have limited functionality and usability [1]
  • This can lead organisations to develop bespoke systems at significant expense, when they may not be geared up for the long-term commitment of developing and maintaining computer software – and there is a question mark over whether bespoke systems actually result in better MEL [2].
  • Manually collating data for funder reports takes up significant time and resources and there is scope for automating much of this process [3].
Selecting the right MIS can be a challenge. The selection can depend on a number of factors, such as whether to choose an open source system – many of which are not geared towards development work – or a tailored, proprietary system. Very few open- source MIS solutions aim at development or M&E, and those that do exist have limited functionality and usability. Because of this, organizations often opt to build a system that is customized to their project, program or organizational M&E needs. Any of these MIS options can require considerable investment because most development organizations do not have staff capacity to adapt and customize open source platforms, and proprietary systems often have high costs for training, installation and long-term service agreements.
[1] Emerging Opportunities: Monitoring and Evaluation in a Tech-Enabled World , Linda Raftree and Michael Bamberger, September 2014
There can be a tendency to consider bespoke MEL systems as better systems. The findings of this study question this assumption. Further work could usefully be carried out to understand under what circumstances bespoke systems are valuable and what is their full cost.
[2] Investing in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning: Issues for NGOs to Consider , Itad, in association with nef Consulting, and edited by Jennifer Chapman
Just compiling data for each DFID quarterly progress report costs around £5,000 in staff time... that's £60k over a three year project.
[3] Director of a DFID-funded development programme, Aptivate market research

Who we are?

Aptivate use technology to empower people to meaningfully participate in the decisions that affect their lives. We develop open-source technology for people with low-bandwidth internet connections, in a participatory way. We provide consultancy, helping organisations with projects involving: MEL systems, websites, databases, info-graphics, mobile data collection, maps, knowledge management, IT strategy development, open data... and all geeky things that support international development.

What's in a name?

Kashana is derived from the Amharic word käshänä, which means "do good work".

You work in development because you want to make life better for people, not because you want to spend time collating spreadsheets, running IT projects or stressing about report deadlines.

You want to learn, improve and deliver better results. The idea is that Kashana will alleviate the administrative burden of MEL, enabling you to focus on doing good work.