Datashift Progress Update and Consultation Summary

Progress Update and Consultation Summary

Following a comprehensive Scoping Study and to inform the design of the DataShift implementation phase, CIVICUS has been working with partners and consulting with civil society and a range experts to ensure the DataShift is a bottom-up, demand-driven initiative that responds to the needs of citizens and their organisations.

This document is a synthesis of that work, summarising key lessons from these consultations, before proceeding to outline our ambitious priorities for the initiative for the coming months.

DataShift at International Civil Society Week

Taking advantage of over 400 delegates from more than 120 countries in Johannesburg, South Africa, for International Civil Society Week (ICSW) from 21-24 November 2014, the Big Development DataShift consultations at ICSW sought to explore data-related strengths and challenges faced by civil society organisations (CSOs); test levels of understanding about the objectives and approach of the DataShift; further define particular areas where the DataShift could provide CSOs with support; and engage potential DataShift partners.

Key lessons from our consultations were:

1. CSOs possess a number of strengths which the DataShift should leverage, including:

  • An existing ability to collect large amounts of data in many different forms
  • Extensive networks of diverse stakeholders
  • A healthy scepticism about the ‘data revolution’

2. Many CSOs face similar challenges around the collection and use of data. These include:

  • Internal capacity to generate data
  • Accessing data and using data in advocacy and programming
  • Credibility challenges when generating and using data

3. Priority areas where CSOs think the DataShift could provide useful support include:

  • Lesson learning, coordination and partnerships between CSOs and between CSOs and other stakeholders
  • Building capacity on data collection, use and curation
  • Creating an enabling environment (for example, supportive legislation around data access) for CSOs around data

We will be consolidating what we have learnt from our consultations soon and look forward to sharing the lessons from the consultations and the DataShift’s next steps.


DataShift Strategic Planning Retreat

This two day event, held from 22-23 October 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together around 25 experts and organisations working on data and development, to help further clarify the purpose and objectives of the DataShift; begin mapping the global ‘ecosystem’ of data and development actors, initiatives and methodologies; explore options and priorities for implementing the five DataShift project streams; and build relationships with potential new partners.

Key lessons from the retreat:

  • There is an incredibly rich existing pool of data-related expertise and resources that the DataShift must tap into.
  • Given this rich pool of expertise and resources, the DataShift should primarily focus on increasing awareness of and accessibility to these existing initiatives and resources.
  • A DataShift theory of change should be developed to clearly articulate the objectives and change path of the initiative.  A draft of the theory of change should be shared with  strategic partners and other stakeholders for their input.
  • Further consultations are required with civil society organisations (CSOs) in pilot countries to determine their strengths, challenges and priorities, prior to the development of ‘demand-driven’ project streams.
  • A clear partnership framework needs to be developed to ensure clarity and coherence around the roles of different organisations in the design and implementation of the DataShift.

Full summary notes from the retreat are available here.