Data/Map Tour: An Overview

As I mentioned last week, my colleague and I about to embark on a six month tour in order to train regional agents on using/updating a new database and integrating it with GPS mapping 2,500+ borrowers. Not only did FAIJ enthusiastically agree to my proposal, they are also going the extra mile and providing additional GPS units and cameras for each region, and even a car and driver for the duration of the project. Read on for more project details.

Project Summary

The implementation of a FAIJ database in all Burkina Faso regions will require a multi-month tour to visit each region and give hands on training. Once up and running, the database will function as a method to:

  1. Track payments
  2. Create automated reports
  3. Track meetings with borrowers
  4. Make data/statistics more accessible to both FAIJ and borrowers

The MS Access database will be installed in each regional FAIJ office, where the agent will be trained to use it as well as make future updates. Additionally, the data in the database will be linked to an interactive Google map with each borrower identified by a point on the map with their GPS coordinates. A click on that point brings up a borrower’s photo and relevant loan/payment information, and the color of each point will change in regard to the timing of our last meeting with that borrower and their repayment status.

The reports and map will serve as the basis to create a FAIJ borrower network where we will encourage borrowers to collaborate by using each other in their supply chains, sharing transport, etc.



  1. Saves time for agents and headquarters, especially important as program expands
  2. Automated reports are accurate and uniform
  3. Creates agent accountability – headquarters has a more real-time view into payments and meetings with borrowers
  4. Sets priorities – easy to see priority borrowers locally and nationally
  5. Easier to access data
  6. Creates/maintains institutional knowledge
  1. Provided more frequent and better targeted follow-up
  2. Allows for collaboration with other FAIJ borrowers
  1. Easier to group borrowers for trainings based on business needs
  2. Opens up the FAIJ network for collaboration with additional partners

Pre-Tour Planning

We’ll be spending a couple of days at the FAIJ headquarters in Ouaga with the Monitoring & Evaluation and IT groups to determine which data to track, establish collection rules, and to communicate to all regional agents about the upcoming work. We will also create training manuals for database/GPS/camera usage.

Tour Activities

During our visits to each region, we will be:

  1. Creating a region-specific version of each database
  2. Normalizing data
  3. Training regional agents on the database, GPS device and camera
  4. Taking locations/photos of all borrowers
  5. Data entry

Post-Tour Follow-up

After finishing the tour, we will create a headquarters version of the database with enhanced reporting functions. In addition, we will offer additional training and evaluate usage behaviors. An all-agent meeting will be held to review the on-the-ground use of the database and map in each region.



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The opinions on this blog are only those of the author, and and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.