With the data collected and the visualizations ready, the next step was to implement the data feedback experiment. The surveyed villages in Theni were divided into two groups, a treatment group and a control group. We wanted to observe whether access to data led to improved outcomes and empowerment, by looking at the difference between the 1st (before intervention) and 2nd (after intervention) rounds of tracking data. Treatment villages received their visualized data in multiple formats and control groups did not.
Treatment areas received visualizations of their village in multiple forms, the first being a habitation level board, depicting a village scene that was physically displayed at high-traffic areas within the village.
Treatment areas also received a computer application of the visualizations that was installed on the village computer.
Book-keepers in treatment villages were trained on how to describe what the visualizations were saying and what data was being portrayed.
They were then trained on how to navigate through the computer-based visualizations.
The book-keepers presented the data in two different meetings. Book-keepers presented it to Village Poverty Reduction Committee (VPRC) members during their bi-monthly meetings in April, 2015.
The data was then presented to all the Self-Help Group (SHG) women in the village at the Panchayat Level Federation (PLF) meeting.
The feedback experiment aimed to collect data on the impact the visualizations had on outcomes as well as the conversations of these various meetings. Community professionals were selected to be enumerators and trained to enter face sheet data for the various meetings.
Data was also collected from the village’s Gram Sabha meetings, to record what the women and community discussed. The first round of feedback data was collected on May 1st, 2015, the second round on August 15th 2015, and the third and final round on October 2nd 2015. The second round of household data is currently being collected. The data is currently being analyzed and you can we will soon be sharing a draft of the P-tracking: Data for Empowerment paper.
Related to a forthcoming paper: “Democratizing Data: Participatory Tracking in Tamil Nadu” written by Nethra Palaniswamy, Vijayendra Rao, Smriti Sakhamuri, R.V. Shajeevana and Cassandra Xia.