DataShift at the 61st Commission on the Status of Women in New York

DataShift’s Cassia Moraes is in New York (NY) attending the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) taking place at the United Nations Headquarters.

Based on our work on Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5), to “achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, we will be promoting the role of civil society and citizen-generated data in achieving gender equality.

To tackle today’s global challenges in cross-cutting thematic sectors like health, education, economic opportunities, political participation, and human security, more data on gender is needed. However, we know significant barriers stand in the way of achieving gender equality and inclusivity, particularly of marginalised and disenfranchised groups – even in the most progressive societies. Increased citizen participation in the implementation and tracking progress on 2030 agenda could mark a significant turning point in delivering this ambitious agenda to those who need it the most. Citizen-generated data (CGD) thus offers an opportunity for increasing people-powered governance and development.

CGD has the potential to plug gender data gaps, identify those at risk of being left behind and draw the attention of decision-makers to tackle the issues causing their exclusion and marginalisation. DataShift has been building civil society organisations’ capacity and confidence to produce and use citizen-generated data to monitor sustainable development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change. We have convened a series of national dialogues on the state of gender data in each of the DataShift pilot countries (Kenya, Argentina, Nepal and Tanzania), with a view to then identifying the challenges and opportunities around using citizen-generated data as part of an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to spurring action and monitoring progress on SDG 5.

We will be participating in the “Supporting Feminist Movement Building for Planet 50-50 by 2030” on Wednesday, 15 March at noon. This session will look at how data can lead to on-the-ground changes and make real impact in girls’ and women’s lives, as well as the role gender data plays in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, amongst others.

During events at CSW61, we will be sharing the key findings and recommendations of our Global Gender Thematic Forum which took place in December 2016. The Forum looked at the diverse experiences and ideas that emerged from the above-mentioned national dialogues, bringing together a small group of gender data practitioners from our pilot countries, along with a number of other international experts, working on issues from digital literacy to empowerment of women, to statistics, and  ‘mutually reinforcing’ global advocacy activities.

You can also find us, as well as the CIVICUS delegation, at the following events during CSW:

  • CIVICUS Monitor Workshop for WHRDs, LGBTIQ activists and others in the feminist movement at CSW – 15 March, 10 am – 12 pm
  • Shrinking civic space for the feminist movement –  Wednesday, 15 March, 14:30 – 16:00 at ONE UN Hotel

For more information about these events, click here.

We will also be discussing the findings of some of our resources and reports around our work on SDG 5, including:

We look forward to seeing and engaging you in New York! Be sure to follow our conversations on Twitter @SDGDataShift, @casssia_moraes, #DataShift, #CSW61 and #CSW2017

Citizen-generated data: Facilitating the follow up and review process of the Sustainable Development Goals

On Sunday, 15 January, the first ever United Nations World Data Forum (WDF) officially kicked off in Cape Town, South Africa and will continue until 18 January, 2017. This inaugural WDF provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the commitments world leaders made just over a year ago, upon the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here, diverse data communities from government, private sector, civil society, academia, and techies, among others will engage the rest of the world to share their data and statistics related experiences, ideas, innovations, challenges, learning, and opportunities for collaboration across sectors.

The agenda of the WDF shows that planned side events will focus on a vast array of subjects – all related to the role that data and statistics is playing, or will play in supporting the delivery of the ambitious 2030 Agenda. The level of enthusiasm for this event as demonstrated by its oversubscription is a sign of a new awakening – an awakening that it is difficult to talk about concrete actions and interventions that can lift the world’s poorest out of poverty, in the absence of high quality, timely, relevant and usable data and statistics.

It is important at this point to remind ourselves that the Ministerial Declaration of the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development pledged that no one should be left behind, especially the most marginalised people, as we implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ‘Leave no-one behind (LNOB)’ must now move from paper to a practical reality; our mantra to hold governments across the world to this promise. After all, the Ministers underscored that the 2030 Agenda is people-centered, universal and transformative and that its goals and targets are integrated, indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

There’s a caveat to LNOB. As we focus on marginalised citizens let’s not forget there’s an even higher risk to leave behind a special category of people that hold the real power and resources to quickly do something about the World’s poorest; especially in least developed and developing countries. These are members of parliament, political and economic power brokers, elites that control the political class, and technocrats in powerful government ministries, departments, and agencies that are seldom seen as relevant to mainstream development discourses, but who in real terms control entire economies. There’s no better time to bring them on board and target them with the message of change.

The burden of monitoring and reporting on SDGs lies with national governments, and that of compiling data and statistics with National Statistical Offices (NSOs). We are however, fully aware that due to existential challenges it will be impossible for any of them or any other single body to meet the data requirements needed to populate monitoring frameworks and adequately track progress. We must therefore embrace other data communities in order to harness new sources of data in the National Statistical System (NSS). This will build a more robust and accurate picture of progress at all levels, from local to national. Ensuring a more participatory approach that includes people, communities and diverse sectors is one major way of harnessing new, valuable sources of data.

Citizen-generated data (CGD) is one such source. CGD is data that people or their organisations produce to directly monitor, demand or drive change on issues that affect them. Its data generated by citizens that falls outside the remit of official data for example administrative or civil registration, and statistics gathered from formal government processes like censuses or household surveys. In most cases its production is initiated by citizens or non-state actors through research, social audits, crowd-sourcing online platforms, mobile phone and SMS surveys, phone calls, reports, storytelling, social media, and community radio.

DataShift in partnership with the Open Institute, Chief Francis Kariuki (AKA the Tweeting Chief), and Restless Development Tanzania have been exploring the use of CGD in Kenya and Tanzania. We aim to empower citizens to better understand their development landscape and leverage the SDGs to engage local governments in order to target resources towards their priorities. Our entry point is SDG 5; ‘Achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls’. One of the learnings so far is that CGD is able to convey unique perspectives and reveal issues that may be imperceptible from analysis of other sources of data. Qualitative evidence provided by CGD will be needed to supplement and complement quantitative data, especially that coming from official sources.

We believe creating partnerships at all levels, especially between civil society organisations (CSOs) and National Statistical Offices (NSOs) through the National Statistical System (NSS) will help to fill data gaps, strengthen capacity for data gathering and statistical analysis, raise awareness and encourage knowledge-sharing around the targets and indicators and strengthen advocacy work. Taken together, all of this could help better coordinate efforts around monitoring and tracking on progress on SDGs.

We also hope there will be an opportunity at the WDF to talk about the challenges; challenges that have and continue to plague governments, development partners, civil society, private sector, and academia, among others. It is the only way we can all learn and effectively transform the world’s development and governance discourse over the next 14 years of the Agenda 2030.

Please join us for two these DataShift hosted events at the World Data Forum, where we’ll be exploring how citizen-generated data can contribute to closing data gaps and facilitating the implementation and tracking of progress on SDGs:

Making citizen-generated data work for sustainable development: Incentives, obstacles and the way forward

Day: Monday, 16 January

Time: 17:00 – 18:30

Room: MR2.41

Gender Data: An integrated approach to plugging the gaps with citizen-generated and other data sources to leave no one behind

Day: Wednesday, 18 January

Time: 10:45 – 12:15

Room: MR1.41

Follow our conversations on Twitter @SDGDataShift and #DataShift

Global gender goals: achieving local impact

Significant progress has been made in the long journey towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. We now have a standalone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) on gender that places special emphasis on the subject and raises its profile to those from state and non-state backgrounds. But raising awareness on this goal is in itself a progressive step towards gender equality.

Disaggregation of data by sex has equally gained momentum, fuelled by the demand for gender data and targeted decision-making and interventions that tackle challenges unique to women and men, or girls and boys. Today, a lot of sex disaggregated data exists in the public, private and development spheres. We have just about enough to get started despite capacity gaps in understanding gender data, its analysis, and packaging in more powerful ways to support advocacy and policy engagement. The growth in information communication technologies (ICTs), especially mobile phone and increased access to the internet are demystifying gender equality and putting information in the hands of people – whether deliberately or not; changing attitudes in ways never imagined before. Mainstream and social media are exerting cultural influences across the world and sharing more and more information by the minute.  

Despite these milestones, we remain fully conscious of the insurmountable challenges and barriers that women and girls face around the world, especially in rural and marginalised areas, and in fragile and conflict situations. Increasingly the “forgotten” boy child and young men are side-lined by increased investments in women and girls and are now falling deeper into crisis in the developing country context. Both men and women are stuck with attitudes and practices that impede progress arising from retrogressive socio-economic, political and cultural factors. Men with the power to exert influence and make a difference are yet to subscribe to the reality that empowering women is akin to empowering the entire community and society at large. While women in power and leadership are still very much perceived to be in these positions by favour, not by merit. Despite the numerical strength, many women don’t support their own (deserving and qualified women) to ascend to leadership positions.

How DataShift is helping to monitor progress and enable change in Kenya

Over the past couple of months, DataShift has partnered with the Open Institute (OI) and Chief Francis Kariuki, the “Tweeting Chief” to domesticate SDG 5 at the community level in Lanet Umoja Location, Nakuru County in Kenya. DataShift is an initiative of CIVICUS World Alliance that builds the capacity and confidence of civil society organisations to produce and use citizen-generated data (CGD) to monitor sustainable development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change. Through the project dubbed “global goals for local impact” we are working with the community to use citizen-generated data to better understand their gender-related development and governance priorities. Even more exciting, we are moving beyond the collection of citizen-generated data to empower the community to undertake advocacy campaigns targeting local government decision-making and budget processes with a view of attracting resources to initiatives that empower women and girls.

Over time we will measure whether progress is being made or not on SDG 5 targets and indicators. Ultimately our goal is to develop, test, and share widely a model for citizen engagement in domestication and tracking progress on SDGs at the community level; using SDG 5 as an entry point.

We started by convening a women’s-only (young and old) community gender thematic forum with over 100 women groups, training them on SDG 5 targets and indicators. The women’s-only forum created a safe space for them to candidly discuss their challenges, opportunities and priorities. A A follow-up joint thematic forum was then organised to bring the men in the community and local leaders on board, raising awareness among them on SDG 5 and including them in the Lanet Umoja gender committee.



Subsequent meetings focused on data literacy, clarifying contentious issues; such as unpaid care and domestic work, and demonstrating the importance of SDG 5 indicators in measuring progress. We further involved the community in developing the gender citizen-generated data collection methodology and tools. In October 2016, the gender citizen-generated data collection tools were uploaded to mobile phones and distributed to women leaders. The women were trained to use the mobile phones to collect the data – this data collection is currently underway. The data will be available on an online dashboard, visualising it as information the community can use to power campaigns and advocacy.

Lessons learnt

From the community engagements and gender citizen-generated data in Lanet Umoja, we have learnt: the gender-related issues that SDG 5 and its constituent targets, seek to address for example, ending all forms of discrimination, eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls, and recognising and valuing unpaid care and domestic work, among others, resonate quite well with people’s every day circumstances at the community level.

Some targets were more relevant than others depending on the magnitude of the problem within the community

In Lanet Umoja for example, target 5.3 on “eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation” was less of a priority because the issues it seeks to address are nearly non-existent in the community. While 5.a on “undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance…” was considered higher priority.

Other targets would have to be domesticated or further expanded to address emerging issues

For example 5.2 focuses on eliminating all forms of violence against “all women and girls” in the public and private spheres. Given increased violence against men and boys, the community agreed that this would have to be expanded to read “against all women, girls, men, and boys” in the public and private spheres to ensure the data captures the reality on the ground.    

The community was more interested in indicators they could do something about

For example indicator 5.1.1 reads “whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex”. The community was interested in an additional indicator that could measure “the proportion of those discriminated against”, so they could do something about it.

Gender equality is still largely perceived as a women’s-only issue

We have however witnessed significant improvement in Lanet Umoja since we started involving the men, a lot more campaigning and advocacy is needed to reach those not yet engaged in order to convince them that gender equality does matter to them.  

Half of the households in Lanet Umoja were led by women

The data showed that most of the women  are breadwinners by the age of 40, are more affected by insecurity, and they were more proactive in reporting incidents to security agents.

Gender issues cut across all goals

Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls within the community are measured through targeted government service delivery and women’s access to economic opportunities, along with related issues like women and girls accessing clean water, efficient and timely health services, quality education etc. Gender is therefore a cross-cutting issue not only in the SDGs themselves, but in reality on the ground.

Access to “classified official data” to complement data generated by communities is a challenge

This makes it difficult to understand what government is doing on this agenda and therefore hold it to account. This is likely to be a major challenge for the follow up and review process.

Reaching impact at scale will be a challenge

The scope of gender citizen-generated data, especially at the subnational level like Lanet Umoja focuses on highly contextualised community-specific issues. We have to extract the approach and lessons to formulate a scalable model.

There’s limited capacity and funding to collect more frequent gender data

There’s limited capacity to feed this data into local government decision-making processes at the subnational level, often because government, donors or CSOs are mainly focused on service delivery sectors.

Next steps

From our perspective, mainstreaming gender in sub-national government policy, practice, and service delivery will be critical for targeted interventions which meet the specific needs of women and girls at the lowest levels of the community. It’s now widely acknowledged that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a precondition for the achievement of the SDGs, however this requires good quality, timely, and accurate gender data, in addition to partnerships and relentless efforts on all fronts.

DataShift’s work on using CGD for delivering the SDGs continues to explore opportunities and challenges associated with harnessing multiple sources of data, particularly citizen-generated data, to monitor, demand and drive sustainable development progress, while facilitating an evidence-based conversation amongst diverse stakeholders. This is being achieved through applied research, collaboration and partnership development and policy engagement, outreach and advocacy primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, and in other DataShift pilot countries – Nepal and Argentina.

Data powers Argentine gender equality campaign #NiUnaMenos (“NotOneLess”)

An alarming figure rocks Argentina: one woman dies every 30 hours due to gender-based violence. This is the harsh reality that has been present in our society for a long time, but hidden from view. Unfortunately, no detailed country-wide data exists; for either femicide (a women’s murder due to her gender condition), or any other type of violence; including symbolic and psychological violence which women are subjected to on a daily basis.

“Macho violence” is a fact in Argentina. Recently, Argentinian non-governmental organisation (NGO), La Casa del Encuentro, carried out a survey on the femicide index at the national level, these were however only based on what the media has reported.

This was a problem, not only because there are many others not reported, but also because physical violence is not the only kind; it is the last step in a long chain of silences. Invisible kinds of violence are the most dangerous – these are the ones that women suffer without any questioning because they have become naturalised, i.e. street harassment, inequalities in the work environment and images portrayed by the media, for example, as passive individuals devoted to domestic tasks. Thousands of stories of suffering such as these have not been registered anywhere, as there is no national statistics on the subject.

In 2015, in response, journalists, activists and artists started mobilising around the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (“NotOneLess”), calling for concrete actions to eradicate gender violence and inequality. A diverse cross-section of society adopted this movement and on 3 June 2015, a rally was held at Plaza Congreso.

Buenos Aires

It has been a long campaign which has used a range of actions. On 3 June 2016, one year since the first rally, the group doubled down on their efforts by revealing the environment endured by women through a nationwide citizen index of reliable data. With the movement continuing to grow a further two massive demonstrations under the theme #NiUnaMenos and #VivasNosQueremos was organised and a survey was launched.

The aim of the survey was to generate national statistics on “macho violence” (this term was used to differentiate between victims and offenders) and to visualise this daily problem. The Primer Índice Nacional de la Violencia Machista (First National Index of “Macho” Gender Violence) was established for citizens to collect information on gender-based violence in Argentina. Between 3 June and 3 September 2016, a detailed 186 question survey was made available to women and transgender women across the country.

Within the three month period, over 60,000 responses from women all over the country was collected. On 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) #NiUnaMenos presented the results.

The results were shocking; over 97% of the women who completed the survey have suffered some kind of gender violence, but only 5% had reported it to the police. Over 20% said they were violated. The survey helped those who answered realise that their rights are being violated. It also attempted to attract authorities and civil society’s attention to the fact that this is a problem which requires an urgent solution.

The data is currently being analysed, to be presented to officials to demand specific actions to eradicate “macho” gender violence against women. It is a testament to the scope that citizen-led data-based initiatives can have for demanding changes to public policies on specific problems or monitoring official data.

ProtestThe survey is a successful case study of how to use technology in collecting valuable quantitative data for use as evidence in public awareness raising and advocacy campaigns. The results helped generate 126 articles in national and international media outlets.

The harnessing of data by the movement has played a significant role in enabling the number of broad but perceptible changes in public behaviour. Firstly, the media has stopped calling femicide “crimes of passion”, and show that it is not related to conflicts between partners, but to the place women hold in society. Secondly, the legal concept of “femicide” has been adopted. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, society has begun to become aware of the inequality between men and women in all aspects of social life.

Community call: ESRI and HealthEnabled dashboards, 22 November

With a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) data platforms and dashboards emerging to help aggregate and analyse SDG data, we thought it could be a good time to learn more about how to use these tools by hearing from DataShift community members involved in building some of them.

So DataShift will be hosting a series of webinars for our colleagues to present and discuss their work.

We invite you to our first webinar on 22 November at 9am EST / 2pm GMT / 5pm EAT (additional time zones); where ESRI and HealthEnabled will be sharing the uses and benefits, as well as challenges of their dashboards with us.

About ESRI

ESRI technology combines maps with data so you can see the world in a smarter way. They have built ArcGIS, the most powerful mapping software in the world. ArcGIS connects people with maps, data, and apps through geographic information systems (GIS). It is a location platform that’s accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

View their dashboard.

About HealthEnabled

HealthEnabled is a nonprofit organisation that activates effective integrated digital health systems and supportive health policies in low- and middle-income countries by advising governments and health programs, facilitating connections among experts, and promoting best practices in digital health.

View their dashboard.

Presenters will have 10 minutes to present their dashboard, thereafter the line will be open for discussion, so RSVP today and join us for an interactive and participative discussion.

If you would like to share your platform in an upcoming webinar, please email Cassia Moraes: and Hannah Wheatley: .

Community call summary – Ma3Route’s mobility solution

On 12 September, Ma3Route CEO, Stephane Eboko shared the organisations’ experiences in improving the commutes of their application users, by providing real-time information on traffic in Kenya.

Ma3Route is a mobile, web and SMS platform that crowdsources transport data and provides users with information on traffic, matatu (referring to public transport minibuses in Nairobi) directions and driving reports. Their aim is to make travelling in developing countries easier, by providing timely transport information, informing city planning and transport regulation.

The popular app has over 500,000 active users and has been downloaded more than 40,000 times, making them a leader for traffic information in East Africa. In Nairobi, the most popular means of transportation are minibuses, however, the Ma3Route smart mobility concept considers a wide user base of all types of commuters, including car and bus drivers – 60% of which are between the ages of 18 – 44 years old. 65% of users access the service on their mobile phones, while 35% of users are accessing it from a computer. What is exciting for this small team of researchers, developers and marketing professionals is the use of various channels such as their website, app and social media to disseminate traffic information. They have gained a following of over 500,000 followers on Twitter.

With more than half the world’s population living in cities, it is estimated that by 2030, 6 out of 10 people will be urban dwellers. Ma3Route’s innovative mobility solution is a great response for addressing Sustainable Development Goal 11, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. In addition to impacting city-related targets under SDG 11, it also has a great impact on health (SDG 3) and safety outcomes. Their crowdsourced information is addressing Nairobi’s core traffic challenges.

After the webinar, participants were invited to send in their questions to Stephane:

Serge Kapto from the UNDP:  Is the information provided to or shared with government/municipal authorities, to help manage congestion and urban planning?

Stephane: Our Data Science team has used our crowdsourced data to analyse critical datasets, to send alerts and to spread awareness in order to complement government efforts and surveillance systems.

Through this “AccidentKE” initiative, using Ma3Route aggregated data over a six month period, we were able to create a heat map where most crashes occurring in Nairobi were geo-coded.

For example, the data revealed that 42.5% of accidents involving a pedestrian happened within 500 meters of a footbridge, a distance that takes only 15 minutes to walk! This suggests that an urban design problem is contributing to traffic fatalities in Nairobi.

Using this data, an interactive and powerful visualisation tool was created which highlights how dangerous the major transportation corridors are in Nairobi – the results are in line with official data, which was made available to all public stakeholders.”

DataShift’s Hannah Wheatley: How is Ma3Route used differently than Waze?

Stephane: “Our users  share messages and pictures to foster a more efficient commute. It’s very contextual and also hyper-local information, as users contribute using their language of preference (English, Swahili or the local slang). In addition, we collect and share paratransit information from individuals at a dramatically lower cost. The fact that our service is multi-platform, provides various touch points. Finally, our service is also available through SMS, which makes it accessible to people equipped with feature phones.”

Mtandao wa Malezi ya Watoto Wadogo Tanzania: How would the interactive and essential contribution be assured to reach the community without discrimination?

Stephane: “By definition, in a crowdsourcing service, users create and share information. Part of the challenge is to ensure the quality of information, which is why in addition to our natural language processing algorithm, we also have a small team of moderators who verify the information. Once the information is shared, it’s available for everyone to see it, engage and make an informed decision about their travel, whether they’re private car owners, taxi drivers, matatu riders, cyclists or pedestrians.”

Other examples of initiatives leveraging citizen participation in transport:

  • Last year Ma3Route took part in a project called “Zusha” (meaning “speak out” in Swahili). The project allowed for local minibus customers to engage on Ma3Route digital platforms to call out drivers when they were not following driving rules. As a result, minibus users who engaged in the project saw their likelihood of getting in an accident decrease by 30%.
  • There is currently a community-driven project in Nairobi called #whatisaroad, which aims at improving the infrastructure in the city. What is it about? Users can take a picture of a pothole, turn on their GPS and share the data on a map. Hopefully, the authorities will access this aggregated information and make the necessary changes.

We apologise for the technical difficulties experienced during the webinar. While we do not have a recording, the presentation is still available for download here.

Announcing our DataShift Community Seed Funding Challenge winner

We are excited to announce the winner of the DataShift Community Seed Funding Challenge. Congratulations to Data Labe – Observatório de Favelas do Rio de Janeiro and Casa Fluminense, who submitted a project proposal of an online data-generating platform, which will allow people to map and flag areas where there are open sewers, rubbish accumulation and lack of access to water. Through user-friendly mobile technology, they aim to make it possible for inhabitants of informal and low-income settlements in Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan region, to map situations that violate the right to basic sanitation; including lack of access to water and waste collection and treatment.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered. We had an overwhelming response, receiving over 60 applications, making the decision to pick just one winner really hard. But in the end Data Labe and Casa Fluminense’s proposal was chosen because of the way the project idea emphasised the role of citizen-generated data in monitoring sustainable development issues at the local level, developing a participatory tool in which citizens can both condemn infrastructure problems in their community and report – in a participative manner, solutions for sanitation in Rio de Janeiro’s metropolitan region. Their proposal tackles Sustainable Development Goals; 1 (No Poverty), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 11 (Sustainable Cities) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).   

DataShift will provide Data Labe and Casa Fluminense with guidance throughout the proposal development process. However, as the challenge aims to foster collaboration, experimentation, and innovation on citizen-generated data, they will be expected to share updates and solicit inputs and feedback from other members of the DataShift Community during the proposal development process.

To those who submitted entries that were not selected, thank you once again for participating. We trust that you will use the Community platform to share more information about your concept and request solicit feedback and potential partners to take the idea forward. The DataShift team will also be connecting those applicants whose concepts seem to have the potential to link up with other similar CGD initiatives, including both those at the idea stage and those already well established.

The DataShift team is really looking forward to seeing this first Seed Fund Challenge initiative on the use of citizen-generated data for Sustainable Development Goals monitoring come to life and engage the wider Community.

Keep up to date with our winners progress by joining our DataShift community email discussion list. You can also receive updates, share experiences, knowledge, challenges and questions on using citizen-generated data for social, environmental and economic change.

Fondos Semilla DataShift: Financiación inicial para iniciativas de datos generados por los ciudadanos

DScommunity Ofrecemos una financiación inicial de U$S 5000 para miembros de nuestra comunidad. El objetivo es volver realidad una iniciativa de datos generados por los ciudadanos que esté en sintonía con la supervisión de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) y/o los compromisos sobre el cambio climático.

El Proyecto deberá centrarse en cómo los datos generados por los ciudadanos (CGD, por sus siglas en inglés) pueden ayudar en la supervisión y la rendición de cuentas de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) y/o los compromisos de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (UNFCCC, por sus siglas en inglés).

Como parte de nuestra labor para promover la innovación en la sociedad civil, la colaboración y la capacidad de desarrollo de datos, invitamos a los miembros de nuestra creciente Comunidad de defensores de los CGD a presentar un idea para un proyecto que se nutra de este tipo de datos para la supervisión y la rendición de cuentas de los ODS y/o el cambio climático.

El objetivo de este desafío es fomentar las iniciativas de recolección de datos generados por los ciudadanos, así como también incentivar su uso para supervisión y monitoreo. Desde Datashift consideramos que este tipo de datos son fundamentales para alcanzar los ODS, por lo cual nos interesa fortalecer y contribuir a que este tipo de iniciativas sigan creciendo.

La propuesta seleccionada recibirá U$S 5000 para convertir su idea en una propuesta de proyecto integral.

Se espera que la organización ganadora colabore y trabaje en conjunto con otros miembros de la comunidad, para fortalecer los lazos entre los miembros de la sociedad civil. Asimismo, el equipo de Datashift a partir de su experiencia ofrecerá soporte y sugerencias y estudiará la posibilidad de compartir la propuesta entre aliados claves. Las aplicaciones que no hayan sido seleccionadas, aún tendrán la oportunidad de compartir sus ideas con nuestra comunidad para identificar oportunidades adicionales de colaboración.

¿Piensas que tu idea puede ser la ganadora de los Fondos Semilla de Datashift? Completa el siguiente formulario y envía tu propuesta a, antes del 24 de octubre de 2016 (11:59pm EST).

La organización cuya idea resulte ganadora será notificada antes del día 24 de octubre de 2016 y la propuesta de proyecto final deberá ser completada no más tarde del 24 de noviembre de 2016.

¡Quiero ser parte! 

¿Todavía no eres miembro de nuestra comunidad? La Comunidad DataShift nuclea  organizaciones de la sociedad civil, activistas y expertos en tecnología y datos generados por los ciudadanos. Unite en: y síguenes en Twitter a través del hashtag #Datashift.

Acerca de DataShift

DataShift es una iniciativa de CIVICUS, en colaboración con Wingu, la Engine Room y el Open Institute.

DataShift ayuda a la sociedad civil a producir y analizar datos, especialmente datos generados por los ciudadanos, para impulsar el desarrollo sostenible. Para ello, fortalecemos los lazos entre las organizaciones que llevan a cabo iniciativas de recolección de datos generados por los ciudadanos, llevamos adelante campañas para impulsar la recolección y uso de este tipo de datos e impulsamos la utilización de estos datos para la supervisión y monitoreo de los gobiernos, lo que se traduce en  una mejora en la  rendición de cuentas y la transparencia.

¡Esperamos recibir sus propuestas!

DataShift Seed Funding Challenge

communityWe are offering $5,000 seed funding to members of our Community to explore a new collaborative initiative on the  use of citizen-generated data for SDG and/or climate change commitment monitoring.

The project should focus on how citizen-generated data (CGD) can support monitoring and accountability of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and/or the UNFCCC climate change commitments.

As part of our work to foster civil society innovation, collaboration and capacity development on data, we invite members of our growing Community of CGD champions to develop a concept for a new project using this modality of data for SDG and/or climate change monitoring and accountability.

The challenge aims to foster collaboration, experimentation, and innovation on citizen-generated data. Applications will therefore be reviewed against these key criteria, with the successful concept for collaboration being awarded $5,000 seed funding for further development of the idea into a fully scoped project proposal.

The winning collaboration will be encouraged to seek inputs from other Community members during the proposal development process. The DataShift team will also provide inputs and feedback, and explore additional opportunities for promoting the proposal amongst relevant partners and at key events. Unsuccessful entries will still have the opportunity to share their idea with our Community, with a view to identifying additional opportunities for collaboration.

Think you have the winning collaboration? Complete the application form and submit your project proposal to by 19 October 2016 (11:59pm EST). The winning collaboration will be notified by 24 October 2016, with the final project proposal to be completed by 24 November 2016.  

Apply here

Not yet a member of our community? Join the DataShift Community of civil society organisations, campaigners, and citizen-generated data and technology practitioners, by signing up at and follow us on Twitter via #Datashift.

About DataShift

DataShift is helping civil society produce and analyse data, especially citizen-generated data, to drive sustainable development. We do this by building capacity, powering campaigns and improving the monitoring of government, resulting in better accountability, policies and services. 

DataShift is an initiative of CIVICUS, in partnership with Wingu, the Engine Room and the Open Institute.

We look forward to seeing your submissions!

The Long Road to a Transformative Data Revolution

The current excitement around the role of data in supporting the delivery of the sustainable development agenda is in itself revolutionary. A few years ago the discussions were limited to a few organisations directly dealing with data. More encouraging now is the flurry of activities in-country by data enthusiasts to mobilise government, civil society, donors, multilateral organisations, academia, and media, among others; to join hands in ecosystems that can harness the data revolution to address a range of data and development challenges.


Full house at the national data revolution roadmaps workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 12 – 13 August 2016

As part of our work on this agenda, CIVICUS, through the DataShift initiative has joined forces with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) to galvanise political commitment, align strategic priorities, foster collaboration, spur innovation and build trust in the booming data ecosystems of the 21st century. One of the ways this has been pursued so far is through a series of national data revolution roadmap workshops organised by the GPSDD and led by national governments and partners. The series kicked off in April in Colombia, followed by Sierra Leone in June, and subsequently in Tanzania and Kenya in August 2016.


The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri (third left) during a panel session at the national data revolution roadmaps workshop in Nairobi, 15 – 16 August 2016


The back to back workshops in Tanzania (12 – 13 August) and Kenya (15 – 16 August) – both DataShift pilot countries – explored how stakeholder ecosystems can meaningfully harness data to drive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the national level. A unique feature of the workshops was the blending of local and international actors who shared a platform to showcase their work, mull over challenges, share experiences, and brainstorm ways to shape the country-level data revolution agenda. Learning from each other is the best way to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

Challenges with data collection, access, and use that were raised during the workshops had many similarities across the countries. However, the diversity in socio-economic, cultural and political systems makes one realise that we need highly contextualised approaches to data ecosystems. Attending and facilitating sessions at the workshops also reminds one that the data revolution will not happen on its own. Efforts made by the GPSDD and other players to catalyse action, especially at the national level; like the Office of the Deputy President in Kenya, National Bureau of Statistics Tanzania and the Open Data Council in Sierra Leone, need to be fully supported by other governments and additional stakeholders.

Change processes in-country take decades, mindsets have to change, social and cultural beliefs must be reshaped to align to new ways of doing things, and partnerships have to be forged to do the actual work. It is however doable, if we make the right connections – this was demonstrated in the presentations by  Kenya Health Data Collaborative, Kwantu, Open Institute, Kenya Open Data Initiative, #NationNewsplex, Map Kibera and ourselves (DataShift), among others, during the Nairobi workshop. We therefore need to urgently connect the dots and complement one another.

The call to LNOB (“leave-no-one-behind”) will not be as easy as ABC. Significant gaps remain in trying to establish who are in real terms already or at the greatest risk of being left behind. In most places, we have barely scratched the surface (financially, technically, or otherwise) in fully understanding where they live and what their needs are; yet with only 14 years to realise the SDGs, we don’t have any time to waste! DataShift’s exploits with the Open Institute in localising the SDGs at the community level in Lanet Umoja Location, Nakuru County, in Kenya with Chief Francis Kariuki, hopes to demonstrate (at a small scale) the sort of effort needed to reach everyone, including the most marginalised, to better understand their needs and priorities, and the kinds of resources needed by government and others to meaningfully impact their lives.

National Statistical Offices (NSOs) are sounding more progressive and receptive to multi-stakeholder engagements and approaches on the data revolution. They are however, burdened by severe capacity gaps and limited resources. It can never be overemphasised that they need urgent support to define practical mechanisms for coordinating the new age National Statistical System (NSS) of data producers and users. And yes, it’s also time for the political goodwill in our countries to yield domestic resources to fully support these national processes – there’s a limit to what the GPSDD and its champions can do for us.


Over 300 participants attended the community SDG 5 Forum in Lanet Umoja Nakuru County in Kenya on 23 August, hosted by Chief Kariuki. Organised in partnership with the Open Institute and DataShift. It explored ways to domesticate global goals for local impact, with a special focus on gender equality

Political will can be a great tool for mobilising stakeholders and resources. Its absence, however, can also break great initiatives as a result of the push and pull for power, resources, and relevance. The impact of politics, therefore, is not to be underestimated. We need well-defined (and clearly understood) accountability frameworks and rules and responsibilities that apply across the board, not just for government, to effectively overcome negative political machinations.

It can be noted from the engagements thus far, for the data revolution to fully support the delivery of SDGs, it needs:

  1. Policy/legal frameworks and well defined national roadmaps that catalyse reforms, provide visionary leadership and create the infrastructure necessary for integration and implementation in formal government planning and development processes.
  2. A natural home in a core institution or set of institutions (political, technical and financial), that are responsible for coordinating and providing leadership for its delivery, and can be held to account for their actions.
  3. Full ownership by various arms of government (executive, judiciary, and legislature) who commit and allocate domestic money and other resources to support its implementation and concrete action.
  4. Awareness to be raised so that stakeholders, especially citizens and civil society organisations, fully understand it, own it, and are empowered to use it to take action and to hold governments accountable.  

A truly transformative data revolution should be seen as one of several major steps in a long term transition to sustainable development. This must last well beyond 2030 to support whatever post-2030 global framework is adopted. We must therefore do what needs to be done now while also creating incentives, nurturing partnerships, and strengthening institutions through which longer-term visions can be achieved. A special focus on those at the highest risk of being left behind; those in vulnerable, conflict-ridden and fragile states ravaged by chronic and absolute poverty, hunger and instability would be a great starting point. It’s great harvesting low-hanging fruit, but if we are to change the discourse for humanity, then energy and resources need to be channelled to address the structural causes of poverty, instability, and marginalisation. This includes climate change – which is already hitting us all, but the most vulnerable the hardest. But the convergence of technology, sustainable development expertise and citizen voice that the data revolution can foster, offers an incredible opportunity to better understand these challenges, along with how to address them.

Lastly, the affront on civic space across the world is, and will continue to be, a major threat not just to citizens, but to governments themselves. CIVICUS has documented serious violations of civic space in 109 countries last year alone. Unless the tide changes, the rhetoric around meaningful partnerships and data ecosystems amounts to nothing but double-speak. Resources are also rapidly dwindling and the natural instinct for governments is to focus on a few selected priorities (often political). Never has there been a greater opportunity for inclusive socio-economic transformation through the emerging technological revolution, innovation, and citizen empowerment. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are no longer a choice, they are an absolute must.

Follow our conversations on Twitter via #DataShift.