Interview - Ronald Munjoma

Name: Ronald Munjoma (@Ronald_Munjoma)


Location: Where do you live? Where do you work?
Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa. Currently working as a Systems Administrator for a construction company (with lots of opportunities to use ODK as a data collection tool)

I am active contributor to a number of Open Source Projects. I am involved with Senaite LIMS, GNU Health and for the ODK community I am one of the Forum Moderators and did help with the Outreachy Round 15 application.

Tell us a fun fact or story about yourself!
When I proposed ODK and came up with a proof of concept for our website client in three days I was hired as a Data Manager for their Randomised Controlled Trial. (I had zero experience or knowledge of Research Data Management). With the help of ODK I managed to produce an accurate and tidy data set in record time.

How did you first find out about ODK?
In 2013 I was consulting on website project and learnt that the client had been on the market for a mobile data collection solution for their Controlled Randomised Trial. I quickly Googled for Open Source Solution and voila I came across ODK. Proposed ODK and I was hired as Data Manager.

What are you using ODK for?
Right now I am not using ODK. I used ODK as a data collection tool for a Controlled Randomised Trial on Mental Health in Zimbabwe. We collected data for more than 500 participants at baseline and six month follow up. The organisation is still using ODK to this day.

What’s your favorite ODK feature?
The ability to collect data offline and been able to send the data to the cloud when I get Internet connectivity. In Zimbabwe data, especially mobile data, is very expensive, ODK allows us to collect data whilst offline and then upload all the records via Wi-Fi at the end of the day.

How did you get so involved in the community? What keeps you coming back & staying involved?
When I stumbled upon ODK, as a novice I relied on the community for answers and help, and as a way of giving back to the community I decided to help others. In helping others I then learnt a lot about the project and tools.

What has been the greatest challenge for you in learning about ODK? (Either the software, the community, or both!)
The learning part was quite easy, most of the skills were self taught (There were lots of example forms - hosted on Formhub, forum post archives had very detailed responses to questions and example forms, XML code). Choosing the hosting platform was a bit of a challenge, there were many options (Formhub, Aggregate, Ona ... with different features) we ended up going with the free Ona plan because of the limited budget.

On the mobile app side back then it was confusing which client to go with, there were (I guess they are still) many ODK Collect derivatives (KoBoCollect, GeoODK…) I was tempted to try them. The moment I installed a derivative it would use the ODK Collect folder on the phone (overriding files), thus corrupting/interfering with the running of the native ODK Collect app.

Let’s talk about goals: Do you have any ODK-related goals for yourself, your organization, or the overall ODK community?
I want the ODK community to keep growing and the software tools to continue to evolve and get more functionality. The biggest missing functionality for the project I worked on was Case Management. We wanted to track the mental well being of the participants on a weekly basis using ODK and having the questionnaire been administered by Lay Health Workers (grannies with no to little knowledge in smart phone use)

What advice would you give someone who’s just learned about ODK and is considering getting involved?
Get your hands dirty, play with the various ODK tools. Start with small forms, testing your use cases and scenarios. Come join the friendly community, ask questions and answer questions on the forum.