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Sigmah - An information management software for international aid projects
From 2010

Key word: The Quality of Aid /

Groupe URD and several partners have contributed to the development of an open source information management software adapted to international aid projects. This software, entitled Sigmah, aims to improve practices and benefits the entire humanitarian community. A first version was released in June 2011. Development then continued as users returned. In June 2018, Sigmah merged with TolaData to ensure the project’s sustainability.

Do you get submerged under all the Excel and Word documents which are exchanged within your organization and with your partners?

Do you struggle to keep a clear and up-to-date picture of the situation on all your organisation’s projects?

Do you often find yourself trying to track down information which is scattered between too many different sources and which is difficult to find in its most up-to-date version?

Do you find it difficult to keep on top of everything that needs to be done because of the number and variety of projects which need to be followed up?

Do you regret not being able to use all the information that has been gathered more easily in order to learn lessons from the past?

Do you want to adopt a Quality approach?

You are not alone …

 

Find out about Sigmah in 1½ minutes by watching a new animated film by Concept Image!

 


Sigmah in a nutshell par sigmah

 Better information management

In response to these needs, the Sigmah software aims to make humanitarian information management easier by improving certain key functionalities:

  • Keeping track of project progress and funding;
  • Defining and monitoring indicators at different levels (project, country, region, organisation);
  • Centralising project documents;
  • Improving schedule management and anticipation using a warning system;
  • Implementing a quality assurance approach, by defining criteria and critical points linked to projects;
  • Working even when there is no internet connection, and sharing the work with colleagues by synchronising as soon as an internet connection is available again.

This project was launched in response to a collective request from a group of NGOs. During 2009, Groupe URD assessed their needs in terms of information management. This highlighted that they all wanted to improve these priority functionalities.

 Free software which will benefit the humanitarian sector as a whole

The fact that the software is open source means that it can be shared and it can evolve, and will be available to the humanitarian community as a whole.

 A unique combination of competencies

The project has been led by a group of NGOs who worked on it together.

Groupe URD has been in charge of the overall coordination of this collective and the coordinator of the project. The project thus benefits from the lessons learned during the development of the Dynamic COMPAS software.

The ActivityInfo software, a system for monitoring indicators developed for UNICEF and its NGO partners in Congo, has also been integrated initially into the project.

IT companies, universities and engineers’ schools, ergonomists, graphic designers and other specialists were also involved, bringing their expert knowledge to the project.

In June 2018, Sigmah merged with TolaData to ensure the sustainability of the project. Following assessments of several monitoring & evaluation (M&E) tools, TolaData stood out as the platform that was the most in line with Sigmah in terms of vision, quality, expertise, financial backing, and future development plans. With its origins in Mercy Corps and having been adopted in 25 countries to date including INGOs like GOAL Uganda, we are confident that TolaData is on the right path.

 ‘Agile’ software development to respond to users’ needs more effectively

This software is being developed using what are known as ‘agile’ methods, which are pragmatic methods based on close collaboration between the development team and the users. Frequent exchange means that users are able to give developers feedback allowing the project to evolve step by step, based on better understanding of real needs.

Feel free to get in touch with the Sigmah project (contact@sigmah.org) or TolaData (info@toladata.com) should you have any questions.