Many digital development projects fail to create impact among the users or achieve their results. Principles of digital development suggests that nine principles should be followed to ensure the success of digital interventions. The first principle of Digital Development underlines that digital systems should be appropriate for users, be relevant to the context and be informed by user needs. Including all user groups in planning, development, implementation and assessment is mandatory. Design solutions that learn from and enhance existing workflows and plan for organizational adaptation. Developing projects in an incremental and iterative manner is required should ensure success and adoption of digital tools.
The Electronic Management Information System or eMIS is a comprehensive and organization-wide digital intervention for the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh. The eMIS started its journey in 2015 through a pilot implementation in Basail and Madhabpur upazilas of Tangail and Habiganj districts respectively. Pilot proved worthy of scaling up, which started in 2018. The scale up gathered pace and reached 36 out of 64 districts by the end of 2020 in a span of 6 years and it is expected that eMIS would be covered in all districts of Bangladesh gradually. The eMIS aimed to automate the business processes of the community level workers, their supervisor though mobile applications or mHealth apps. Tools were developed for managers and decision makers to reach enterprise level.
Starting from 2015, the eMIS programmers and implementation team remained engaged with field workers at community levels, their supervisors and managers in the sub-district and district level. The participation of users in design and implementation have enriched the apps and web-based application and let to wide adoption.
We tried to learn how the users perceived the participation of the programmers and implementation team in design and development of digital tools. We interviewed some users and reproduce some of their observations in the following sections.