FSC Information Management Tool
Purpose of the IM Tool
To coordinate partner responses, every country-level Food Security Cluster is currently obliged to develop local level response tracking and data management tools (normally as Excel matrixes to collect 3/4Ws). As a result, mechanisms that collect and report on the food security responses differ between emergencies and require specific trainings for each tool. Recognizing the need for the clusters to take a holistic approach to data collection and sharing, the gFSC has created a web based Information Management (IM) tool that is now accessible to cluster systems and partners. The FSC IM tool is an elaboration of a tool that was built and used by the Somalia FSC and the South Sudan FSC and is thus bringing a country-level good practice to global scale.
With the ability to be deployed to any operation, the IM tool makes data collection, processing and response analysis globally comparable. By producing project reports and maps the IM tool visualizes gaps and overlaps of partner responses, and helps in avoiding duplication of humanitarian assistance, especially considering issues of food availability, access and utilization. Consistent information sharing by partners facilitates project tracking and monitoring, and results in evidence based decision making for strategic intervention and improved implementation. Furthermore, use of the IM tool helps in the dissemination of timely and accurate information for advocacy efforts by clusters.
In sum, the IM tool will benefit for both the country clusters and partners:
- For country clusters, it will make it easier to collect information on partner activities and visualize data to avoid gaps and overlaps.
- Partners will benefit from consistent information sharing that will facilitate project tracking and monitoring, and result in evidence based decision making for strategic intervention and improved implementation. The partners will have direct access to the IM Tool where they can update their actuals directly.
How is the IM Tool managed?
The IM tool is managed at the global level by the global administrator from the gFSC. The global administrator is responsible for populating the global module of the IM tool and setting up country cluster user accounts. The country cluster administrator manages the IM tool at the country level, and is in charge of populating the country module of the IM tool and creating new country and partner users. The cluster coordinator, information management officer and secretariat have specific supporting roles for the IM tool that are determined through consultation with the gFSC. Reporting officers from partner organizations will be authorized to populate data into the tool.
The gFSC sets up the IM tool in each new context after a country cluster requests to use it. The gFSC conducts a face to face training on the tool for cluster users, in particular the cluster coordinator and information management officer. The country cluster can hold a preparatory meeting with partner heads and reporting officers to introduce the tool and encourage the tool’s use. With support from the gFSC, clusters will be tasked with training partners to use the tool by organizing local level training sessions. Trainee participants in both training contexts will benefit from one-to-one guidance on using the tool, with their learning assisted by a training manual and e-learning module.
What does this mean in practice?
For each new operation, partners will submit planning information, including the targeted number of beneficiaries and inputs, to the cluster’s secretariat who will input it into the IM tool. On a monthly basis (or as required by the individual country situation) partners will input actual operational information into the tool, which will be reviewed and approved by the country administrator. Actual information will be compared with the target to achieve a crucial monitoring function. Project and program wide reports and maps will be generated for sharing with the humanitarian community for purposes of evaluation and evidence based decision making.