Easy remote project monitoring – Worldwide
KfW Development Bank launches guide on remote management, monitoring and verification
KfW originally developed remote project management, or Remote Management, Monitoring and Verification (RMMV), for use in fragile states. Since the pandemic, however, these technologies and methods have also proven extremely useful in other regions. KfW has compiled a summary of its RMMV experiences into a guide, which will soon be available online. The subject of the guide was previously presented to the public.
Whether drones, satellite images or internet platforms, digital technologies make it possible, at least temporarily, to monitor the progress of projects without being on site. On July 12, 2022, KfW presented various RMMV projects from a wide range of sectors and regions, including Montenegro, Ecuador, Pakistan and the Central African Republic, in a two-hour webinar. “There are many reasons for using RMMV approaches and tools, such as monitoring programs involving many individual projects, observing large areas or monitoring projects that are difficult to access,” explained Arlina Elmiger, Head of the Innovation, digitization and communication division. at KfW at the start of the event.
Matthias Seiche, Head of the Data Management Policy Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), praised KfW for sharing its experiences with RMMV with the professional audience. He underlined that all stakeholders benefit from digital transformation – from the development bank to partner governments. Christian Krämer, head of department at KfW, pointed out that RMMV doesn’t always have to be complicated; simple solutions can also be effective.
Tools for every stage of the project cycle
Maja Bott, Senior Sector Economist at KfW, introduced the guide, which can be described as a “digital public good”. Previously it was only available internally but it has been significantly expanded and revised and will soon be available for download online from the KfW website. The 200-page guide can be easily navigated using icons. Institutional RMMV approaches, RMMV tools and the decision matrix to assist in their selection based on respective information needs have all been developed. In addition, sections on the principles governing digital development, data sources, legal aspects and security topics have been developed by approximately 90 internal experts and an equal number of external experts. The guide also includes many current and practical examples to illustrate the application areas. The integration of RMMV in the different stages of a project cycle is also described in detail.
Dr. Johannes Schielein, Sector Economist at KfW, recalled the days when a lot of project data was stored on external hard drives – with the risk of losing entire data records. Modern digital technologies have made this unnecessary. The RMMV guide contains a template for consultants to fill in – this data can be uploaded into KfW’s future geo-app to provide a visual record of key location-based information for each project in the form of a map. A cartographic comparison of this type of location information that includes external geodata opens up many more options for data analysis.
RMMV in practice: 3D images for the remote monitoring of works
In Pakistan, KfW uses the Regional Infrastructure Fund to finance approximately 25 separate construction projects in widely dispersed locations across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Still, tracking is simple: In Frankfurt, portfolio manager Jonas Dylla pored over the project’s online dashboard. 360 degree photos of construction sites allow virtual tours of construction sites with virtual reality glasses. In this way, it is possible to remotely check the progress of the sewers for the sewage system of a rural community. Pie charts illustrate the percentage of the budget that has already been spent. “Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to be there for two years but here, at a glance, I see what has already been achieved,” Dylla explained. The partner government can also access the dashboard data at any time.
In Pakistan the challenge lies in the high number of project sites while in Ecuador it lies in the large area to be monitored. The Latin American country is proving to be a pioneer in its use of modern technologies as it monitors over 12 million hectares of its forests. Ecuador combines satellite images with data collected by drones and information from the national forest inventory. All data is digitally aggregated and helps record changes in land use and illegal deforestation in near real time. Thanks to extensive monitoring, Ecuador was able to provide evidence that, compared to the reference situation, less forests were lost during the years 2015 to 2019. This reduction in deforestation is remunerated by the REDD Early project Movers (REM).
Save energy the smart way
Bozidar Pavlovic from the Ministry of Capital Investments in Montenegro uses special software to monitor the energy consumption of 2,500 public buildings such as schools and hospitals. The government is currently spending 40 million euros on the energy and water supply of these facilities – it has already been able to reduce this amount by 35% by replacing the heating systems and insulating. So far, the resulting energy savings have reduced annual CO2 emissions by 69%. The data provided by the software helps to decide what measures need to be taken and where to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
The user’s point of view matters
In the Central African Republic, KfW supports the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a health project. Health posts are often only accessible by off-road vehicles, so the RMMV approach was ideal here too. According to KfW portfolio manager Vincent El Haidag, an extremely complex platform was initially used here, but ultimately proved unsuitable. The design of the RMMV was then completely revised. Thinking from the end user’s perspective has proven to be an effective way to achieve this. Field data is usually collected by volunteers, many of whom are women who are often unable to read or write. With the support of KfW’s RMMV experts, a solution is being developed for an easier-to-use technique that would better meet the needs of end users. “Thinking from the bottom up was the right approach,” El Haidag concluded.
Once the guide is published, KfW will use it as a basis for training, which will be funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. This training will cover specific aspects such as the collection of geodata and open data for project partners, consultants and KfW employees. Training dates are published via LinkedIn under the hashtag “RMMV4Dev”. A second major RMMV conference is also planned for February 2023 and will include discussions of further experiences and innovations and showcase potential applications.
Data sheets on the different technologies are already available here (the RMMV guide will soon be available here too).