Citizen-generated data for campaigning

From July to December 2016, we worked with 18 organisations in Argentina, Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal to create and pilot training on using citizen-generated data for campaigning towards implementing and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Different approaches to the training were used, including; developing a CGD campaign training manual (translated and adapted for the country), workshops, an intense two-day camp with experts, providing financial assistance for CGD campaigns, and structured support with an online DataShift consultant. All the approaches had their strengths and their weakness, however, success in every case was mostly attributed to the relationship between the civil society organisations (CSOs), DataShift and the training materials. Learn more about the approaches used to implement our second phase of direct support.

Global Goals for Local Impact: Using citizen-generated data to help achieve gender equality

Over the past couple of months, we have 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. Through a project dubbed “Global Goals for Local Impact” DataShift is working with the community to use citizen-generated data to better understand their gender-related development and governance priorities. The project is 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. Learn more about our process and approach in the Lanet Umoja Location.

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: cassia.moraes@civicus.org and Hannah Wheatley: hannah.wheatley@civicus.org .

Citizen-generated data for the Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons learnt from SDG 5 monitoring and accountability in Kenya and Tanzania

In this Briefing on Country Level Monitoring of SDGs we share experiences from DataShift’s deep-dive on SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls) in Kenya and Tanzania. Our work in the region shows that the manifestation of gender equality within the community is directly linked to government service delivery and women’s access to economic opportunities, which is essential for meeting the needs of women and girls.

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%. http://zusharoadsafety.org/ma3route
  • 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. https://whatisaroad.crowdmap.com

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 datashift@civicus.org, 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: http://civicus.org/thedatashift/community/ 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 datashift@civicus.org 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 http://civicus.org/thedatashift/community/ 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!

Community Call: Ma3Route’s mobility solution for creating a sustainable city

Join us on 12 September at 9am EDT / 2pm BST / 4pm EAT (additional timezones) for a DataShift community call on mobility solutions for sustainable cities. Ma3Route CEO, Stéphane Eboko, will share the organisation’s experiences in improving the commutes of their app users, by providing real-time information on traffic in Kenya. With 500,000 active users and 40,000 app downloads, they’re a leader for traffic information in East Africa.

Stéphane will discuss how they created a community of users, how their initiative contributed to a more sustainable Nairobi, and insights for others considering similar initiatives in their countries. We will also share a few examples about other data technologies related to mobility and sustainable cities (SDG 11); such as measuring carbon impact with sensors and monitoring pollution indicators in real-time.

We want to hear from you! Please come prepared to talk about mobility issues in your city and how mobility and sustainable cities are related to your work on other topics as well. We hope to have an interactive debate, your contribution is essential to ensuring that our DataShift community as a whole, gets the most out of this webinar.

With more than half of the world’s population already living in urban areas; we hope you will join us to learn about successful experiences, ask questions, and share your own knowledge on how to make cities more sustainable and enjoyable.  

RSVP now!

Community Call: Disaster Accountability in Nepal

On 25 April 2015, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the magnitude scale struck Nepal, a major aftershock occurring on 12 May. These massive quakes killed more than 8800 people, injured over 21,000, damaged nine million homes and pushed 2.5% – 3.5% of the population back into poverty.  

In the wake of these devastating earthquakes in Nepal, the Nepalese government and other actors turned its attention to humanitarian assistance. Aiming at monitoring and improving earthquake response, Local Interventions Group (LIG) together with Accountability Lab (AL) started the Mobile Help Desk, an initiative that would close the information loop that exists between the public and the government while simultaneously, plugging these gaps by directly providing essential information to earthquake victims.

On 10 August, DataShift hosted a Community Call, inviting Quincy Wiele from Local Interventions Group (LIG) and Sara Rodriguez Accountability Lab (AL) to share their experiences in providing opportunities for Nepalese to be more involved in the disaster recovery process and holding their government accountable.

Local Interventions Group uses data to promote better governance and have previously used data for security mapping with the police and tracking district official absenteeism. The Accountability Lab works to promote accountability and transparency to reduce corruption building a new generation of active citizens and responsible citizens around the world. Together they started the Quake Help Desk.

After a natural disaster, the international community and citizens are often generous with financial support for survivors. That money however, is entrusted to the government; often with no strings attached. When governments are given a blank check for disaster relief and recovery, how can citizens hold them accountable for how that money is spent? In response to this, the Quake Help Desk conducted earthquake-related activities such as;

  • providing advocacy related information to citizens rights regarding earthquake relief,
  • conducting community perception surveys,
  • connecting citizens with different organisations,
  • tracking rumours,
  • providing earthquake-related information,
  • monitoring the finance flows,
  • encouraging communities to discuss on the state of post-earthquake responses, and
  • making sure that people in localities are receiving the support they have been promised.

Through these range of activities, LIG and AL were able to close the loop on the earthquake response in Nepal. Their disaster accountability work called “Follow the Money”, allowed them to track relief disbursement into 14 affected districts, down to the village level. The collected data was analysed, cleaned and visualised on an online platform, with the objectives of:

  • reducing corruption, through providing empirical evidence to the government of funding irregularities,
  • strengthening public capacity, and
  • raising awareness by reminding citizens of their entitlements.

One way of tracking, involved conducting community perception surveys. Through these surveys they found that by listening to people’s needs and comparing the discrepancies between districts, the humanitarian community was able to adapt its response to specific circumstances – improving the overall earthquake response.

In order to close the feedback loop, their “Open Mic Project” ensured that people had access to correct earthquake related information, thus reducing the potentially harmful/inflammatory impacts of incorrect information.

Feedback_loop

 

Through these activities, LIG and AL were also able to have an impact beyond their initial objectives. They mobilised over 100 volunteers, hired more than 100 community frontline associates, exposed more than 80,000 people and monitored more than 1,000 villages; identifying over 20 different issues. Over 25 humanitarian organisations and government agencies are using the data.  

Quincy and Sara also shared their findings with us during the call. It was clear that transparency and accountability lacked at every level. Their work also showed that during the first eight months after the earthquake, negative perceptions about relief and the reconstruction process remained consistent, with slight improvements noticed after this period. In July 2016, 79% of people felt their reconstruction issues were not being addressed, showing that the reconstruction process is still viewed unfavourably. Initial data from “Follow the Money” showed that significant funding discrepancies existed and that significant levels of corruption existed in the relief process.

The team was also confronted with challenges, such as; managing high expectations as it was sometimes difficult to ask for data without providing tangible assistance to victims. Communication was key for overcoming this, as the team worked hard to build trust within the communities. Accessing remote communities also posed as a challenge, however, by hiring locals or being close to survey areas to minimise journey time – they found a way around it. Another challenge they encountered was survey fatigue, with more than 12 organisations doing similar work. It was thus difficult to convince the community that they would benefit from continuously sharing their experience.

Quincy and Sara have learnt that in these situations, you have to strike while the iron is hot, as it is difficult to continue mobilising for earthquake response, when it is already considered “old news”. They also learned the importance of building good relationships with the government, which ultimately gave them more leverage. By avoiding pointing fingers at government and humanitarian agencies, they have managed to maintain a positive approach to their work. Going forward, LIG and AL are developing a toolkit with lessons learned to be shared with other countries facing similar situations and hope that this model can be replicated for other disaster accountability.

We would like to thank Quincy and Sara for sharing their experience and insights with us. Their presentation can be downloaded here. Also, be on the lookout for our next Community Call, more information coming soon.

Learn how DataShift provided direct support to LIG at http://civicus.org/thedatashift/direct-support/local-interventions-group/