Tanzania Data Roadmap for Sustainable Development National Workshop, 12-13 August 2016

Starting today the National Bureau of Statistics – Tanzania in partnership with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) will convene the Data Roadmap for Sustainable Development National Workshop in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

The workshop brings together representatives of major stakeholder groups, to start working more closely toward sustainable development goals (SDG) monitoring. It also presents a good opportunity to showcase the ongoing work by civil society organisations (CSOs) in Tanzania, and provides a platform for networking with regional and global players working on data revolution for SDGs.

Key objectives of the workshop are to:

  1. Create awareness among Tanzanians (including; key government officials, CSO and private sector) about SDGs and the roles different parties can play.
  2. Cover the SDG indicators with the 5-year development plan (2016/17-2020/21) indicators, to establish concurrent monitoring for both programming tools. This will align national priorities and Vision 2025 plans with the 2030 SDG goals.
  3. Localise SDGs in the national five-year development plans, such that plans may be aligned at the sub-national level to execute Vision 2025.
  4. Understanding and mapping of the data ecosystem, including; capacity and budget aspects, and possible sources of support.
  5. Define early wins, short and medium term actions and deliverables for moving the data roadmap process forward so that it contributes to achieving and monitoring progress on sustainable development.

On the second day of the workshop (Saturday 13th August), DataShift will be facilitating two break-out workshops on specific data areas highlighting data gaps and early wins. These will be; 1) On SDG 5 (Gender Data workshop) jointly with the Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP), and 2) the second session on the Data Revolution in action, focusing on Citizen-generated data; in the morning and afternoon respectively.

The workshops pose a great opportunity for organisations to share their story and experience in revolutionising the use of data in tracking gender related issues in Tanzania; including through citizen-generated data and the use of technology, such as mobile phone technology.

CIVICUS World Alliance is an anchor member of the GPSDD. Read more about the partnership on http://data4sdgs.org/.

For more information visit http://civicus.org/

Please follow @DavisAdieno on Twitter for updates during the workshop.

Community Call: Local Interventions Group’s experiences in disaster recovery accountability in Nepal

Join us on 10 August at 9am EDT/2pm BST/4pm EAT /6:45pm NPT (additional timezones) for a DataShift community call on disaster recovery accountability in Nepal. Quincy Wiele of Local Interventions Group will share the organisation’s experiences in providing opportunities for Nepalese to be more involved in the disaster recovery process and holding their government accountable for its efforts.

The good news is that after a natural disaster, the international community and citizens are often generous with financial support for survivors. The bad news is that this money 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?

After the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, the Nepalese government and other actors turned its attention to humanitarian assistance. In an effort to monitoring and improve the earthquake response, Local Interventions Group (LIG) along with Accountability Lab (AL) started the Mobile Help Desk. This initiative 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.
We hope you’ll join us to learn about these experiences, ask questions, and share your own knowledge on disaster recovery accountability.

Join us for the webinar on 10 August – RSVP now!

DataShift presents “Making Use of CGD Tool” at High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York

The DataShift team ensured that citizen-generated data (CGD) was on the agenda at this year’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York, using the forum as a platform to present the “Making Use of CGD Tool”. Cassia Moraes tells us more in this blog.

From 11-20 July, the United Nations hosted the second High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York. The HLPF is the main global forum for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year the HLPF focused on a core theme of the Agenda 2030 framework; “Ensuring that no one is left behind”. Throughout the ten-day event, the HLPF convened national voluntary reviews of 22 countries, thematic reviews, side events, a Partnership Exchange, and SDGs Learning, Training and Practice sessions for governments and myriad of other stakeholders present.

During the meetings, Member States and several other participants were keen to recognise the need for strong monitoring of the SDGs. As 2016 is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, it is however important to highlight the role of data in the initial stages of the implementation planning process. To ensure that no one is left behind, a crucial first step is knowing who “no one” actually refers to: Which sectors of society are marginalised? Which regions have social and economic indicators below the national average? Which groups are lagging behind on different SDG areas, such as education and health?

On the other side, different constituencies raised important questions about the HLPF theme. One recurring concern was the possibility of rebranding the SDGs, as they were the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight goals that preceded the Agenda 2030, and whose focus were mostly social and economic issues within developing countries. Unlike the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals are meant to be universal, i.e. to be applicable to developed countries. Therefore, few civil society representatives stressed that the aforementioned slogan cannot be used to divert attention away from developed countries’ accountability and domestic problems, thus raising inequality. Another major difference between the SDGs and the MDGs is that the former are supposed to include environmental issues, which is one of the pillars of sustainable development together with the social and economic spheres. Environmental groups were thus concerned that this years’ theme could also overlook important aspects of such a comprehensive agenda.

Aware of these concerns, CIVICUS launched the new Leave No-One Behind Partnership (LNB) together with Development Initiatives and Project Everyone. The initiative will be guided by the following principles:

  • EXAMINE: we will establish a baseline of who the groups that have been left behind are, through a data-led approach; as well as identify those at risk, where they are and monitor their progress annually;
  • ENGAGE: we will develop a visual presentation for awareness-raising, built from the real stories of those who are being left behind;
  • EMPOWER: we will work together with national partners in at least 30 countries to build local voices for action and accountability to ensure no-one is left behind in their countries.

During the HLPF, the DataShift team worked hard to ensure that citizen-generated data (CGD) was in the agenda, leveraging on several advocacy opportunities to include civil society in the monitoring of the SDGs. Beyond advocating for the importance of using CGD, we looked for interesting projects that exemplify how this can be done in practice. A clear-cut example of the potential of CGD to monitor progress against the SDGs is the Everyone Counts initiative, led by CARE International, World Vision International and Kwantu. Together, they will test the efficacy of social accountability at scale, aggregating CGD to monitor progress against the SDGs in pilot countries. Using existing interventions – like social audits and community scorecards (CSC) – the initiative will address the main CGD challenges, such as comparability and coverage.

DataShift presented the Making Use of CGD Tool at the side event, Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development, organised by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD). This tool has been created for all stakeholders interested in fostering effective monitoring and accountability for the SDGs, with focus on the national and subnational levels. The tool also presents advantages of using CGD to complement official datasets, which can identify and fill data gaps and provide a snapshot of marginalised populations and issues, among other contributions. The GPSDD also launched a Call for Proposals on Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development, a great funding opportunity for organisations working with data production, dissemination and use, primarily in low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries. Grants will vary according to the maturity level of the projects, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

Finally, we facilitated the meeting of the Action for Sustainable Development’s Monitoring and Accountability Working Group during a two-day weekend workshop hosted by the platform. Participants discussed challenges such as; considering our audience by using different means of communication (e.g. webinars are not the most adequate platform for grassroots) and increasing awareness levels about the SDGs, especially in the developing world. The audience also stressed the importance of monitoring efforts in the national and local levels, demanding that the working group support members to hold their governments accountable.

Overall, the 2016 HLPF showed both the potential and challenges for the coming years of SDGs implementation. After a successful international gathering, it is now time to go back home and build strong foundations to deliver an ambitious and urgent agenda.

Thematic Forum: Opportunities for an Integrated, Data-Driven, and Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Implementing and Monitoring SDG 5

“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”

Today the gender equality multi-stakeholder forum kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya, convened by CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation (DataShift), The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and the SDGs Kenya Forum.

The forum will explore opportunities for delivering an integrated, data-driven, multi-stakeholder approach to implementing and monitoring SDG 5, “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”, as well as other gender related targets and indicators in other SDGs in Kenya.

Over 50 stakeholders from government, private sector, media, civil society; including women’s rights organisations, development partners, academia, researchers, media, and technology enthusiasts will come together to explore practical mechanisms for working together while implementing their core mandates.

The aim of the forum:

  • Raise awareness on SDG 5 and brainstorm on a framework for civil society and other stakeholders to formally engage with government in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of progress,
  • Brainstorm on the value of drawing on multiple sources of data, including citizen-generated data, for a data-driven implementation, and monitoring of progress on SDG 5,
    Facilitate engagement between civil society, other stakeholders, and government on gender equality in Kenya in order to explore synergies and foster collaborations on SDG 5.
  • It also features highly interactive roundtable discussions, facilitating knowledge and experience sharing from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), and the Department of Gender (Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), among others.

Despite a progressive rights-based constitution, women in Kenya still face challenges including the ability to participate effectively in decision-making and leadership. Research by UN Women indicates that over 80% of Kenyan women are engaged in smallholder farming, only 1% own land in their own right, access less than 10% of available credit, and less than 1% of agriculture credit. Female poverty is exacerbated by gender-based violence; including sexual violence, rape, physical violence and sexual harassment. Women’s empowerment is hindered by polygamy, early marriage and harmful cultural and traditional practices such as female genital cutting. Traditional practices governing inheritance, acquisition of land and benefits accruing to land produce continue to favour men.

The absence of accurate, credible, timely, and gender disaggregated data and general lack of awareness on the goals and their implications inhibits progress. Technical expertise is also limited on the “how-to,” especially in mainstreaming in formal government programmes. Furthermore, where data or information exists; it’s disparate, trapped in silos by civil society, government, academia, development partners, private sector, and researchers, among others. A recent report by Data2x, found no data especially on aspects of the lives of women and girls that are not highly valued by society. Unpaid work in home production, time spent fetching fuel and carrying water, housework, childcare and eldercare – all activities carried out mostly by women and girls, are part of a ‘care economy’ that society undervalues and, therefore, does not count in official statistics.

This forum is the culmination of a two-day capacity-building workshop for civil society on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which focused on women’s rights, gender equality and global and regional commitments. These two events between civil society, other stakeholders, and government on gender equality, offers an opportunity to synergise efforts and foster collaborations on SDG 5 and other gender related targets and indicators in Kenya.

Watch this space for the report emerging from the forum discussions, exchanges, and ideas; including a joint civil society communique and blog post to be shared widely. These will be fed into local and international forums and workshops to facilitate further learning.

Here’s a look at the full Concept Note – SDGs Gender Equality Thematic Forum 12-7-16.

Call for Technical Campaign Experts

From August – October 2016, DataShift Direct Support Phase II (DSII) will focus on supporting organisations to collect, manage, analyse and disseminate citizen-generated data (CGD) with the goal of creating effective gender-related campaigns in four priority countries: Argentina, Kenya, Nepal and Tanzania. DSII will include a specific training on how to use CGD for campaigns. The trainings support local civil society organisations to design a CGD campaign to advocate for progress on gender-related issues under SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and across other thematic areas like health, education, water and sanitation, inequality, etc.

DataShift seeks a consultant to research, design, and package existing CGD Campaign Training materials and create new content, if needed, into a ‘campaigning curriculum’. This CDG Campaign Training will be a combination of a two-day in-person group training and six additional webinars or practical exercises to be viewed/completed independently. At the end of the training, the civil society organisations will have a completed campaign plan ready to implement by a strict deadline of 16 August 2016.

See the full scope of work Citizen-Generated Data Campaign Expert.

Applications must be sent to datashift@civicus.org by 27 July 2016. Interviews will be held on or around 28 July 2016.


DataShift CGD Visualisations: where CGD projects are happening and how they are related to SDGs

Through our research on citizen-generated data initiatives across the world, we’ve come across a lot of initiatives on various themes. Last year, we began to gather up a list of such initiatives, and to get the most out of that information, we worked with network-movement ecologist Ari Sahagún to understand and visualise the data. Today, we’re very happy to put this set of network visualisations online for anyone to explore.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 11.23.10 AM

Visualising connections instead of looking at a database or table format reveals different qualities in the dataset. For example, we can quickly see which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are well represented and which aren’t, and also where there may be gaps in datasets. By adding some additional geographic metadata, we can dig a little deeper to see where certain SDGs are being more prominently addressed.

Some of our starting questions were:

  • Do particular SDGs lend themselves to being tracked or monitored with citizen-generated data?
  • From the data that we have: are initiatives in particular geographic areas working on certain themes, more than others?
  • What are common themes in the DataShift geographic focus areas (Nepal, Argentina and Tanzania/Kenya)?

To address these questions, we created three separate network visualisations:

  1. Citizen-generated data initiatives and the Sustainable Development Goals: showing which SDGs have the most initiatives addressing that particular goal.
  2. Citizen-generated data initiatives around the world: showing where those SDG-focused initiatives are operating.
  3. Citizen-generated data initiatives in the DataShift’s focus areas: showing what initiatives are in these four countries and what SDGs their work relates to.

Each of these visualisations are interactive and explorable online, and have accompanying commentary with tips on what to look for and how to use them. We also include a methodology section to highlight that this data isn’t intended to be comprehensive: it’s simply the initiatives that we’ve come across during our DataShift research.

We want this visualisation to grow in the future, too. If you’re working on a citizen-generated data initiative that you don’t see represented here, you can submit it to the database and after moderation, it will be added to the visualisation. If you’ve got feedback or questions, please get in touch with datashift@civicus.org.

Reflections on year one of the Learning Zone: what we found

By Tom Walker

Our last blog post explained what we produced and shared in the Learning Zone over the last year. This post will focus on what we found.

Benefits to using a broad term to connect knowledge across sectors

Why use the ‘umbrella term’ of citizen-generated data? It’s useful in that it helps us to recognise and learn from similar initiatives across different sectors – but we shouldn’t get too caught up on the labels. Everywhere, information provided directly by citizens is being shared with more ‘official’ institutions. All of these initiatives can learn a lot from each other.

Citizen-generated data is not new, but technology offers new opportunities

Civil society organisations have long collected information from citizens as part of their advocacy, as with the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance’s work over the last 20 years (see this case study). Still, digital technologies do give civil society organisations an opportunity to collect information from many more people, analyse it in new ways (as with this community land-mapping project in Indonesia), and reach more people with what they’ve found. DataShift aims to identify ways that civil society organisations can do this more often, and more effectively.  

Citizen-generated data initiatives are making a real impact

Overall, we’ve learned that citizen-generated data initiatives are making a real impact in a huge range of areas. To take just a few from the studies by DataShift’s in-country research teams:

Citizen-generated data is not just an exciting prospect: it’s already getting results.

Recognising its value and limitations

For citizen-generated data to be used to its full potential, we need to understand what it can (and can’t) do. As outlined in our Changing what Counts report, and our white paper on government-civil society collaboration, citizen-generated data is not a replacement for quantitative statistics. Rather, it complements existing data collection methods, often providing essential qualitative data about citizens’ opinions and perspectives on what’s needed.

Citizen engagement is key

Our in-country research teams found many cases where official institutions were reluctant to use data from citizen-generated data initiatives. Sometimes this was because the authorities did not see how or were unable to use data effectively. In other cases it was actively rejected after the data highlighted problems that official institutions didn’t want to acknowledge. For example, CARD was asked to stop monitoring teacher absenteeism after it highlighted inefficiencies and corruption in Kenya. This relationship doesn’t have to be adversarial, as Buenos Aires’ open data portal’s hosting of citizen-generated data shows. However, as the Argentine research team concluded, using data in this way may be just one element of a successful advocacy strategy. Citizen-generated data initiatives may help to initiate dialogue, but to get results, civil society organisations will probably need to accompany them with broader efforts to mobilise people.

Important to provide capacity and support for citizen-generated data initiatives

The research has also highlighted practical challenges. Few of the initiatives had systematic ways of checking the information that they collected. Those that did try to validate data mainly relied on time-consuming manual verification procedures like telephoning people who had submitted reports and visiting projects on the ground. We still need to know more about these challenges, as well as finding and sharing practical ways of dealing with them. The amount of data collected by different initiatives also varied dramatically – from small-scale projects focused on land rights in a particular market in Uganda, to combining data from existing government complaints systems with Twitter data. Capturing all of this diversity in one unifying framework may prove impossible.

As the East African research team point out, many of citizen-generated data initiatives are small and localised, and the data they collect can’t be generalised across the whole country or compared with other countries. In almost all cases, initiatives didn’t explicitly connect their work to larger narratives like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – even though their work was often directly connected to them. On this evidence, there’s still a lot to be done before this data can be used to monitor the SDGs in a systematic, cross-country way.

Finally, it’s important to note that most of the initiatives that we’ve come across depended upon consistent, long-term grant funding. In a number of cases, initiatives that were producing useful, high-quality data simply stopped when their funding ran out.

All the research conducted through DataShift suggests that citizen-generated data initiatives need support so that they can continue their work, develop their methodologies and learn from other, similar organisations. In many cases, these initiatives were generating data that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Whether it was information about land-grabs, police violence or pollution data, these initiatives are making real, valuable contributions in a range of areas.

Empowering communities

Citizen-generated data is more than just a ‘type’ of data. Our in-country research teams often found that citizens felt empowered simply by participating in citizen-generated initiatives. Citizen-generated data initiatives allowed communities to articulate their needs from their own perspective and portray themselves in a more positive light, countering their feelings that their communities were misunderstood. They’re a tool for citizen engagement; for proving that institutions are listening to the public beyond just soundbites or promises; and potentially for collaboration too. There’s still more to do, however, and DataShift is ready to help support this work now and farther into the future.

Reflections on year one of the Learning Zone: what we produced

By Zara Rahman

One year ago, we began work on the research and learning aspect of DataShift. We decided to call the space for this work the Learning Zone, and we used it as a way to learn more about how citizen-generated data is being used, worldwide.

Since then, we’ve carried out and commissioned a number of research and learning outputs through the Learning Zone. We were lucky enough to work with people pushing the boundaries of citizen-generated data in their respective fields, carry out research of our own, and partner with research teams in other countries to see what we could learn, together.

Read more

Community call recording and summary: Africa’s Voices’ experiences with engaging citizens, analysing local language data, and demonstrating its credibility

On Monday 27 June, we hosted a DataShift community call with Africa’s Voices in which we discussed three common challenges that many organisations working with citizen-generated data face:

  • how to build and sustain citizen engagement,
  • how to collect and analyse local language data, without relying on translation, and
  • how to demonstrate validity and credibility of citizen data.

Below you will find a recording of their presentation, and a summary of the subsequent discussion. Throughout this week, you can ask any additional questions to Africa’s Voices via Twitter by using our #DataShift hashtag. If you are interested in sharing your experience on a DataShift community call, please contact us and consider joining our community email discussion list!

Thank you Claudia Lopes and Rainbow Wilcox for sharing what you’ve learned with us, and for being so open and responsive to questions!

Summary of the subsequent discussion:

On building capacity: Africa’s Voices works closely with partners and radio presenters to build their capacity throughout the project period. Trainings for the radio presenters, for example, are often around engagement strategies, like how to ask questions to the audience in a way that encourages participation from women and hard to reach groups. Africa’s Voices has created this toolkit for radio stations (with Internews). Sometimes the stations continue to run these kinds of interactive shows, which gives them an opportunity to test these new tools. But other times, the costs (fees for short codes for example) is just too high. 

On sharing insights back to the community: After a series of radio shows focused on the topic being researched, Africa’s Voices aims to dedicate the last show to sharing insights back to the community. Members of the community are invited to join the radio presenters for that last radio program.

On impact: Although it is too early to know what impact the UNICEF Somalia pilot project will be, UNICEF is very enthusiastic about the approach and findings, especially as it is difficult for them to gather large scale qualitative and quantitative insights on the ground in Somalia. UNICEF has already requested an additional three radio series to gather further insights about the health beliefs and behaviours of Somali people.

Factors for success:

  • Africa’s Voices pilot research consistently found a bias towards men and more educated audiencesregarding  engagement. But after trying some different approaches (working with a media partner to develop radio scripts, testing with focus groups the wording and cultural adequacy of the scripts and questions, etc), they were able to change this trend across many projects. For the UNICEF Somalia project, 44% of participants were women!
  • They also learned that it is really helpful to get the radio presenter on board from the beginning – if they are excited and engaged, the project is likely to be more successful.
  • In terms of helpful resources and support along the way, Africa’s Voices attribute much if its learning to “learning by doing”, being so closely connected to a University, and road-testing collaboration with partners through pilot studies. Africa’s Voices is interested in continuing to share their knowledge and learnings via their website (see these toolkits), blog, and communities of practice (like this DataShift community).

On finding the right partners: And finally, in terms of finding the right organisations and radio stations to work with, many times it’s the client organisation that determines these partnership, but networking opportunities is introducing Africa’s Voices to new partners. They find that testing new partnerships through small pilots is a great way to explore expectations and ways of working – to know if it’s an effective collaboration. When selecting radio stations, they research things like: the reach of the stations, and their enthusiasm in the project.


DS reportWe’re excited to launch the final of our three research reports from DataShift in each of our pilot locations. We wanted to know more about how data generated by citizens is being used in Argentina.

So, we commissioned Mariano Fressoli and Valeria Arza from El Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación (CENIT) to explore the impact of four citizen-generated data initiatives in Argentina:

Here’s a selection of their findings to start you off:

  • Citizen-generated data initiatives in Argentina have increased the visibility of violence against minorities, land-grabs and environmental threats – issues that are often ignored by the mainstream media. Communities who submitted data from their area or learned how to collect it felt empowered by the experience, while others found that submitting data helped them recognise that their issues are part of a wider national or international issue.
  • Although one government agency was incorporating data from an initiative in its decision-making, most institutions are yet to accept and use citizen-generated data in a systematic way. The Matanza-Riachuelo Basin Authority (ACUMAR) includes and responds to data submitted to QPR about river clean-up operations, but other initiatives experienced much more limited government responses. Citizen-generated data initiatives may help to initiate a dialogue process, but organisations will probably need to complement this with other forms of mobilisation to bring about broader changes.
  • Initiatives generally lacked detailed procedures to validate information submitted by citizens. Data was usually checked in a manual, ad hoc way rather than through systematised verification procedures (by contrast, eBird uses semi-autonomous filtering systems and expert-supervised validation mechanisms). Three of the four initiatives were unable to collect large quantities of data because participation rates were too low (potentially because the initiatives were new and were still trying to reach new audiences).
  • Starting a citizen-driven data initiative is likely to become easier in future because of decreasing technology costs, and growing recognition of the importance of open data and need for data that addresses sustainable development issues. Initiatives typically had relatively low running costs and theoretically could be replicated elsewhere: for instance, eBird relies on hundreds of volunteers to gather data, but is managed by only 4 employees and 20 expert advisers working ad honorem.
  • Most initiatives depended entirely on short-term, project-by-project funds, and lacked detailed plans to expand nationally or internationally. Only one of the four had long-term funding. Citizen-generated data initiatives are often introducing practices and technologies for the first time, and will have to work hard to sustain their work and negotiate standards with reluctant institutions.

There’s much more on this in the full report! To read on: