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What are the benefits and challenges of remote monitoring?

In the context of COVID-19, many organisations are adapting their ways of working and shifting to remote monitoring approaches.

In the context of COVID-19, many organisations are adapting their ways of working and shifting to remote monitoring approaches, which brings with it both benefits and challenges, both of which are outlined here.

Benefits

There are many benefits to collecting and managing monitoring data remotely, for example:

  • Project staff and participants’ safety may be increased as a result of not physically meeting to collect information, especially if the information they share is sensitive.
  • Geographic reach may be larger, particularly in restricted-security contexts.
  • Costs and time taken to collect data may be reduced.
  • Fewer time delays may exist between sampling and results.
  • Some data collection methods could encourage more participation and/or honesty in responses (if submitted anonymously).

Challenges

Nonetheless, the lack of face-to-face communication and direct observation can pose challenges as well. These may include:

  • There may be additional upfront time investment, training and costs in rolling out remote monitoring activities.
  • Data security may be a concern as information is transmitted between the data collection point, technology platforms and the users.
  • Data accuracy may be compromised if remote monitoring systems are flawed in any way or if project participants do not trust devices.
  • Cost of data collection devices may be prohibitive where electronic collection is used.

Your Task

Read the short scenario below:

You are on a team working in the Middle East in an education and child protection programme. Your country has had strict ‘lockdown’ measures in place since early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Though these have been lifted, it is still necessary to take precautions. Monitoring measures that target children with access to smartphones has involved regular follow-up via phone, teacher visits (with proper precautionary safety measures in place), and the distribution of helplines brochures, parenting tips, recreational items, and internet cards for children to access the online platform to receive lessons and psycho-social support.

For children who do not have access to smartphones, what monitoring methods should your team consider?

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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