Category Archives: Luminare: DHS Program Innovations

25 Apr 2019

Luminare: The DHS Program Blog Series on Innovation

This blog post is part of Luminare: The DHS Program Blog Series on Innovation. You can find additional posts in the Luminare series here.


Electronic data collection is now the standard in virtually all DHS surveys.

While The DHS Program is known for comparability and standard methods, it would not be relevant today without innovation. We’ve made big leaps – like moving from paper to tablet-based interviewing and from basic print publications to web and mobile data dissemination. We’ve integrated complex biomarker testing and developed weeks-long curricula in data analysis and use. We’ve also made hundreds of smaller, less flashy improvements, such as use of WhatsApp to communicate with field teams and the use of checklists to improve biomarker collection. Innovation – large and small – is part of life at The DHS Program, as we are constantly seeking new ways to solve problems, increase efficiency, and improve data quality while meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse audience. 

Over the course of the next several years, we will be undertaking a systematic review of new ideas, from new biomarker assays to non-traditional partnerships. This new blog series is just one of the ways that we will be exploring and sharing innovations. We will also be holding topical consultations with experts, reviewing the academic literature, attending key conferences, and interviewing key informants such as external survey experts, staff, consultants, and implementing agency representatives. 

Joanna Lowell, DHS-8’s Senior Science Advisor and Innovation Champion

In DHS-8, we have an even stronger mandate to innovate, and for the first time ever, we have a formal innovation strategy which is led by our new Senior Science Advisor, Joanna Lowell. Her job, in part, is to lead the “deliberate exploration and strategic incorporation of state-of-the-art advances in survey tools methodologies, and partnerships.”   

We welcome your ideas. You can reach out to Joanna directly at Innovations@dhsprogram.com and look out for announcements regarding other ways to contribute. 

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