Tostan

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Tostan International collaboration. Tostan International success story. Vera Solutions Client. Vera Solutions Success. Vera Solutions data management. Example of data management. Example of Impact Analysis. Example of Performance Management. Monitoring and Evaluation Examples. Vera Solutions Client Success. Vera Solutions Collaboration. Vera Solutions Impact Management Client.Region: West Africa
Organization Type: NGO
Verticals: Education, Environmental Sustainability, Economic Empowerment, Governance, Health
Solutions: Program/Project Management, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL), Grant Management
Products: Amp Impact, Feedback Survey (Google Forms), CommCare, OpenFN integration, Salesforce Platform

THE ORGANIZATION

Tostan is a data-driven NGO working across five West African countries that empowers communities to develop and achieve their vision for the future through a holistic and adaptable approach. Tostan’s efforts to provide safe space to discuss sensitive issues in the community at the grassroots has been supported by funders and organizations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The core of Tostan’s work is the Community Empowerment Program, which is a three-year education program that facilitates community-led development and social progress. As Tostan was born to listen to community needs by being inclusive and responsive, having a secure and open feedback loop across the organization – from the grassroots to the grantmakers – always remains a key priority.

“Tostan was born to listen and give voice to feedback. Learning from data is our DNA and strong feedback loops have been key for improving our programs over the last 30 years. Technology helps supplement this DNA to enhance what we’re doing, improve the quality of the data we’re collecting, and scale programs in the communities we serve.”

– Elena Bonometti, Tostan’s CEO

THE CHALLENGE

Tostan | M&E on Amp Impact and Salesforce
Image Source: CommCare: A custom mobile platform that is changing the face of Tostan’s monitoring and evaluation

Tostan began its operations 30 years ago with limited technical support, which inevitably led to organizational data silos. The data disintegration affected Tostan’s workforce as valuable insight wasn’t reaching the people who needed it. For instance, vital information that could help inform programmatic changes and improvements was trapped with one person or team, producing misinformed teams at the grassroots and lack of transparency with the donors.

In 2016, Tostan implemented CommCare, a custom mobile platform built by Dimagi, to automate data collection from the field, minimize errors from manual processing, and expedite monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

Moreover, for a medium-size organization like Tostan, it was crucial to stay lean and efficient, as they were building the foundation for scaling. Thus, the goal of Tostan’s digital transformation journey was to have the technology amplify the impact happening in one location, as well as successfully replicating it in different geographies through local adaptation.

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THE SOLUTION: COMBINING GRANT AND M&E DATA

Vera Solutions helped Tostan connect the data-dots between CRM, donation management, project management, financial management, and impact measurement under the same roof of Salesforce and Amp Impact. Amp Impact was installed into Tostan’s existing Salesforce CRM and Fundraising system and integrated with the CommCare mobile platform using OpenFn to ensure a secure, two-way flow of data from the field to the local and national offices.
Furthermore, to ensure quantitative data becomes the backbone for deep and meaningful analysis, Vera Solutions helped integrate Tostan’s M&E framework – developed in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – into their new digital solution practice. As a result, the framework will continue to prove how high-quality data leads to better outcomes across health, education, environmental sustainability, economic empowerment, and governance.

“People needed to understand and appreciate how much the quantitative data was going to enhance feedback loops in a way that would allow us to make better-informed decisions.”

– Elena Bonometti, Tostan’s CEO

Tostan’s integrated technology platform, named Bountoung (the local Mandinka word for a granary) ensures that Tostan unites its international operations and employees under the same M&E framework in order to scale and amplify program impact.
Tostan | M&E on Amp Impact and Salesforce
Tostan | M&E on Amp Impact and Salesforce

THE TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY

The digital capacity-building journey started by getting Vera’s team familiar with Tostan’s current processes and data management practice. Next, Vera Solutions hosted Discovery Workshops to gather specific requirements and learn more about Tostan’s operational model by collecting user stories.

In the following step, Vera’s team mapped the monitoring and evaluation data system needs and designed a data model as a foundation for the desired system functionality. Subsequently, in the implementation phase, Vera Solutions configured the Salesforce Lightning instance along with the Amp Impact platform according to the system design. In this stage of the journey, Vera’s team focused on customizing the platform and securely migrating historical data.

Furthermore, Vera Solutions continues to provide in-depth training for the end-users to ensure effective change management while keeping the core organizational goals in mind.

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