Mobile phone app enables real- time monitoring and feedback

The use of innovative information, communications, and technology are at the heart of UNDP work in Vietnam. In the recent shelter rehabilitation project after Typhoon Damrey’s destructive landfall in 2017, UNDP applied a mobile phone App to enhance monitoring and quality assurance of the project’s house construction across 109 communes in 03 provinces.  

The Snapture App is an innovative tool that has helped determine the current real-time status of the shelter rehabilitation project. The app is easily installed, with a user-friendly interface that lets our local partners’ staff gather real-time monitoring information. It works by UNDP designing a set of questions which are intended to collect key information. A short training for local partners’ staff is clearly communicated, explaining that each question has a unique code. When staff visit beneficiary households, they can take photos against these questions, using the corresponding code. Using 3G network, local staff is then able send these photos to a centralised system in Hanoi. Logging on the system, UNDP staff will cross-check these photos and verify if a given household qualifies for the project assistance, or if the construction on the ground is making any progress.

Mr. Nguyen Van Hieu in Phu Yen province was giving feedback on his house construction. Photo: Huynh Ngoc Chon


Snapture has helped save time and financial resources for monitoring trips in the field. A dashboard containing all 300 beneficiaries provide real-time monitoring against the beneficiary selection criteria and project schedule.

“As you can see, these photos have just been taken. They show the damages to the house structure; this is a poor, women-headed household, and therefore she is qualified for our assistance. Checking this dashboard, we do not need to physically go there and interview the household”, said Jenty Kirsch-Wood, UNDP Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Specialist.

Real-time monitoring is also the key feature of the SeeTell system, which allows beneficiaries to make no-cost calls to UNDP. Beneficiaries are provided with a set of phone numbers to connect them to the project. Call one phone number when you’ve finished construction and need an engineer to verify work, call another to report a problem or complaint.  The numbers work on a missed-call basis, so beneficiaries do not incur any phone bills, and UNDP does not need a 24-hour operator.  Instead, project staff get an email as soon as a household call is logged.

“This Trelloboard registers all missed calls from beneficiaries on a real-time basis. It indicates call time, call message and caller’s phone number. Our team calls them back right away. Using this SeeTell system, we make sure that the reconstruction process at far-away locations is transparent”, explained Le Dai Nghia, UNDP Shelter Project Manager. By now, UNDP in Viet Nam has received 250 calls from the beneficiaries in the project locations. Households are very pleased with the construction process and they express their gratitude to the Government of South Korea, UNDP and Vietnam Disaster Management Authority for funding this project.  

A new house was inaugurated in Binh Dao commune, Thang Binh District, Quang Nam province


As Typhoon Damrey made its destructive landfall in Viet Nam last November, UNDP immediately began work with other UN agencies, the Government, and civil society to lead an Inter-Agency Joint Needs Assessment in the fifteen affected provinces. Results showed a pressing need for housing recovery, leading UNDP to secure US $1 million from the Government of South Korea for housing recovery assistance. Based on damage levels, 300 households in three provinces were selected to receive cash for reconstruction of their houses.

The main beneficiaries of this project are the poor and near poor, with priority given to women-headed households, elderly-headed households, and households with people with disabilities, whose houses were damaged by Typhoon Damrey. The selection was carefully executed by the Red Cross, Vietnam’s Women’s Union and local authorities to ensure fairness and transparency. All the new houses apply flood and storm resilient designs which are approved by the Ministry of Construction.  

UNDP is aware that housing is often the single largest asset owned by individuals and families, therefore building resilient houses is central to the adaptive capacity of most households in the coastal zones of Viet Nam, like Quang Nam, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. In addition to building 300 new houses, UNDP also provides trainings and educational activities which help vulnerable people and communities, as well as the public, have access to knowledge on typhoon-resilient housing principles. In addition, providing training and engineering support to put ‘build-back-better’ principles into place were a key element of this Project.

Overall, the project is making impressive progresses. All the 300 houses have been commenced concurrently in the three provinces. As of now, 30 houses have been completed and have provided safe and secure living conditions for the beneficiaries. In a couple of weeks, another 50 houses will be completed. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by October 2018, two months ahead of schedule. 

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