Simple XLSForm defined surveys via a chatbot type interaction

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is comprised of 190 National Societies around the world. This global network is dedicated to reaching vulnerable people effectively and in a non-discriminatory and equitable manner. We are constantly exploring new ways to make engaging with our volunteer networks as simple and easy as possible. In some countries, a social platform messaging client such as Viber or Facebook Messenger is a primary touchpoint. Volunteers in National Society branches are first responders in their communities, and a potentially valuable source of primary data on the type and severity of impacts from a disaster. ODK Collect has been used extensively for surveys, assessments, and other data collection. We are always interested in making data submission more accessible for volunteers. Enketo web forms can be used as an alternative to ODK Collect, alongside Collect. We are curious about the possibility of using a chatbot type channel for yet an additional alternative alongside Collect. The possible question types, display options, survey logic, etc would all be limited. But what are people’s thoughts around the possibility of an XLSForm (very basic XLSForms) interpreting chatbot that could collect survey submissions over a platform like Viber and then send the submissions over to and ODK Aggregate or Central server?

A few years back, I built most of what you've described using (aka RapidPro). You can see a write up reporting AFP cases in Pakistan. The system is primarily accessed via SMS (single messages and back and forth messages), but it also works great over the Telegram messaging app.

All this to say, it requires some work, but it's not a crazy idea...

1 Like