GEOPOLL: Aiding the Coronavirus Response through Remote Research

Apr 24 2020

GeoPoll is a leading provider of research from hard-to-reach communities around the globe and gathers vital data on topics including healthcare and food security in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. GeoPoll regularly conducts research for international development organizations, and our remote data collection capabilities were leveraged throughout the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Since the spread of COVID-19, GeoPoll has been working to aid the international community’s response by conducting our own research and making it available for anyone to use, in addition to partnering with other organizations on their own initiatives.

GeoPoll’s platform conducts research remotely, tapping into the wide connectivity of mobile around the globe to gather data via voice calls, SMS, mobile-friendly links, and other remote methods. This enables us to safely and efficiently collect on-the-ground feedback on coronavirus and its effects on food security, employment, and other indicators as it spreads among vulnerable populations. By using modes such as SMS and voice calls, which are currently being conducted via trained interviewers working remotely, we are able to reach wide portions of the populations, including those without internet access.

Our initial study in mid-March on perceptions and knowledge of COVID-19 in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria found that even as the outbreak was just starting in sub-Saharan Africa, levels of concern over its impact were high. Over 70% of respondents indicated that they were at risk of being exposed, and public places and public transit were seen as the greatest risk areas for exposure. Despite this, we found that in mid-March, increasing hygiene was the most common measure being taken to prevent the disease, and only 22% and 13% were avoiding public places and public transit respectively. Other findings indicated that food availability was already becoming a challenge, and confidence in local governments to prevent the spread of the disease was mixed.

GeoPoll is currently running an additional set of surveys on coronavirus’ impact in over 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and will also be releasing those results in the coming weeks. As COVID-19 continues to spread to other populations, such as those in Latin America and Asia, we will continue to release as many reports and resources as possible in order to assist the global response to the pandemic.