The World Food Programme (WFP) faces challenges in collecting high-quality data, in particular because reaching remote regions and recruiting survey workers is challenging. Since data collection is often delayed, economic shocks may not be detected or reported for several weeks. As part of this project, the WPF piloted a new technology for capturing market prices in Liberia, developed by Premise, a venture-backed startup in San Francisco. This smartphone application allocates tasks to individuals in its network, who are compensated with cash for participating, then aids them in the data capturing process. After the Ebola epidemic, Premise recruited local citizens in each city and town to track consumer goods pricing. The evaluation finds that this decentralized, crowdsourced method of data collection can produce a credible economic indicator following CART principles (Credible, Actionable, Responsible, and Transportable). This finding has implications for the future of data collection for humanitarian agencies. Going forward, Premise and WFP are collaborating on additional pilots in Southern Africa.
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