Sigmah Phase 2: the dissemination of a tested innovation

Organisation: Groupe URD

Partners: Acting for Life, Action Contre la Faim, Comité de Secours Internationaux, Croix-Rouge Française, Etc Terra, Handicap International, Médecins du Monde, Premiére Urgence, Solidarités International, Triangle Génération Humanitaire

Location: France

Type of grant: Core – diffusion

Status: Completed


Sigmah is an initiative by a group of NGOs to develop open source project management software for the international aid sector.

Sigmah is an open source software for the shared management of international aid projects. The software is simple, flexible and intuitive and allows each organisation to organise its own work methods, and thereby improve the Quality and Accountability of its programmes.

Sigmah is the result of a participatory project facilitated by a group of organisations from the sector. Using Groupe URD’s expertise and that of our technical and voluntary partners, Steering Cooperative members are able to develop the Sigmah software in order to address expressed needs. Sigmah software is a common asset which is made available to everyone.

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

Information management is a complex process in the humanitarian sector, due to the many types of data produced, high staff turnover, lack of technical expertise, geographical distance between offices (numerous field bases and headquarters) difficult working conditions (isolation, slow and intermittent internet connection, etc.). This context requires a simple, easy-to-use tool which centralises and cross-references all this data. Sigmah is a web-based application, i.e. a system which can be accessed from anywhere via the internet. Additionally, as of December 2014, Sigmah will have an offline function, enabling users to do essential tasks within the system and consult their copy of their organisation’s database, even when the internet is down.

How does the innovation build on and improve existing humanitarian practice?

Sigmah aims to empower humanitarian organisations by allowing them to deal with their project information management issues. With strong emphasis on user autonomy, Sigmah is designed so that each organisation can adapt the software to its own practices, and parametrisation and the organisation’s work processes may develop in parallel.

What materials or research outputs are likely to be produced?

An external evaluation, funded by the Agence Française de Développement, is planned as part of the project. The aim of this evaluation will be to establish to what extent the following impact indicator has been met: “An improvement has been observed in the quality and effectiveness of the project management mechanisms of organisations that have used Sigmah for at least a year”.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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