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New resources available for market mapping and mobile data collection during market assessments

Some new ICT resources to support market assessments are now available on the EMMA website. The first is a web-based tool designed to simplify the production of market system maps that are produced during market assessments such as EMMA, PCMA, RAM and MAG. Until now, market system maps have usually been developed using programs like Microsoft Word, Publisher and PowerPoint and have often been quite tedious to make! With funding from USAID and input from a reference group of humanitarian practitioners, the IRC has developed new tool has been designed to make arranging the spatial elements on the page quite easy. 

You can access the tool, along with instructions for its use, on the EMMA website here. The tool is open source, meaning that individuals and agencies are free to modify or build on it. If you have feedback or questions about the tool or are interested in contributing to its development, please write to livelihoodsadmin@rescue.org or check out the tool’s github here.

The second batch of resources is designed for organizations interested in incorporating mobile data collection (MDC) into their market assessments. MDC requires an initial investment of time, equipment and capacity building but can eventually provide significant dividends in terms of time saved during data entry and analysis and accuracy of data entered.

Because it’s especially well-suited to studies with large sample sizes and slightly relaxed time frames for collection tool development and testing, MDC is not an ideal match for many humanitarian market assessments, which generally have tight time frames and use small sample sizes and a variety of different questionnaires, usually developed specifically for each assessment. Initial experiences using it for PCMAs in Niger and Iraq have been mixed, with many team members questioning its value in the context, although they noted its potential value for the household questionnaire portion of the study.

In any case, we have taken the time to compile some useful resources related to MDC in market assessments on the EMMA website here. On this page, you’ll find: 

  • Templates (ready-made mobile forms that can be adapted for use in other assessments) for vendor and household questionnaires for use during market assessments on the Ona/ODK and CommCare platforms (and easily transferable to other MDC platforms)
  • Additional guidance on accessing the above templates and building and adapting questionnaires in some of the commonly-used data platforms
  • Guidance on choosing an MDC platform that will work for your context
  • Links to a report on lessons learned regarding MDC in market assessments from the IRC’s PCMA pilot in Niger
  • Perspectives from people who have tested out MDC in field during market assessments

This article was written by Emily Sloane, Emergency Markets Officer (International Rescue Committee)

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