Poopoozap: a Citizen-Generated Data project for achieving transformation in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas

by Vitor Mihessen and Inés Gortari, Casa Fluminense and Gilberto Vieira, data_labe 

At the end of 2016, we at Casa Fluminense and data_labe began to design a project together – Poopoozap. This partnership was kickstarted after winning the first DataShift Community Seed Funding Challenge, organised by CIVICUS. Our winning proposal combined two global concepts – citizen-generated data (CGD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by creating a communication channel to denounce, debate and propose solutions for achieving basic sanitation, based on participative maps on waste collection and sewage in favelas and urban peripheries in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro.

The “data revolution” we propose is based on local inhabitants’ commitment and capacity to advocate for public policies. Through WhatsApp, they will be able to send us videos and photos in order for us to locate and make visible the daily challenges of unequal access to public services and infrastructure. Based on the data generated we will create new narratives around the topic, illustrated with infographics, videos and articles. This whole process will include young communicators from low-income areas by involving them in capacity-building workshops and mobilisation initiatives with local organisations from Rio’s favelas.

We believe that through collaborative, horizontal and easily replicable processes, we can construct honest data that better reflects the true state of sanitation in Rio’s favelas in contrast to so-called official indicators used by public authorities. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE in Portuguese), 90% of residences in Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Region have waste collection and sewage treatment. We know that this is not true. Citizen-generated data can contribute towards creating legitimate solutions, based on evidence provided precisely by those who experience the poor conditions the official data fails to show.

Civic engagement is crucial to fight for public policies that are more representative and inclusive and that these are elaborated in more integrated and participative ways. “Citizen-generated data” refers to information produced by people and organisations to monitor demand and promote transformations on issues that affect them. Projects aiming for social transformation can be bolstered by crowdsourcing mechanisms or communication initiatives such as this one, taking advantage of the strong ties civil society groups have with local communities.

Without a doubt, constructing databases using information from people’s day-to-day lives is a recent phenomenon that is gaining worldwide momentum. Firstly, because these databases are easy to “feed” from the daily activities that people engage in and who are not always aware of wider political contexts that affect their socio-economic wellbeing. Secondly, and better still, because such databases can activate people’s participation and can raise their awareness on the importance of establishing a culture of monitoring, they can thereby foster more participative democracies.

Given this context, the pilot project Poopoozap will be implemented along the Cunha Channel, where the favela complex of Maré is located, one of the biggest in Rio de Janeiro. It is located between Rio’s international airport and the Federal University (UFRJ), yet its socioeconomic indicators are much lower than the people who frequent these two other areas. The idea is for this project to inspire new solutions for old challenges, by focussing on basic sanitation, but aiming for the sustainable development of the area as a whole.

Let us not forget that our city hosted two United Nations Conferences, Earth Summit in 1992, and, 20 years later, Rio+20 which was where the seeds for Agenda 2030 were sown. Yet we have not yet been effectively monitoring its implementation. We need to become involved in this supra-party discussion and we firmly believe that this will only be possible by including the population in a wide-ranging and transparent manner.

We will use the citizen-generated data to press for policies that are targeted at citizens in their diversity, paying special attention to and guaranteeing the full rights of those who have historically been left behind. However, to realise this vision, our proposal is looking for partners. All types of support are welcome, whether it is building the data and narratives platform, or contributing to the maintenance of the youths’ capacity-building activities, or even suggesting potential partners. We are counting on the DataShift Community and wider data for development network so would be thrilled to hear from you.

Contact:

Vitor Mihessen, Casa Fluminense: vitormihessen@casafluminense.org.br

Inés Gortari, Casa Fluminense, ines@casafluminense.org.br

Gilberto Vieira, data_labe: gilberto.observatorio@gmail.com 

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

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 .

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Delivering SDGs: Promises to Action and Results

statcom2016-bannerBy Davis Adieno, Senior Advisor, Data, Accountability, and Sustainable Development – CIVICUS

The 47th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission meeting held in New York in March 2016 was a critical milestone in defining the next steps in implementing the highly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the world. Once completed, a whopping 169 targets and 230 global indicators are expected to set milestones for implementation and monitoring progress towards the SDGs across a broad range of sectors. Even as work on the targets and indicators is finalised by the Inter-agency Expert Group on SDGs (IEAG-SDGs), implementing and realising progress on the SDGs will not be easy. Significant energy and resources will be needed at the country-level to translate them into action. They will need to be contextualised, with countries further developing additional national targets and indicators to fill any existing gaps. Citizens, in particular, must be mobilised to understand the promise of the SDGs and develop frameworks that would enable them to hold governments to account for results. Civil society, private sector, and development partners will also need to align their priorities with those of the government not only to support implementation, but also conduct independent shadow monitoring and reporting on progress – or the lack thereof.

Time for Results

Prior to this meeting in New York, the development world waited anxiously for the final list of targets and indicators. Focus has now shifted to the national-level, where citizens eagerly await the results from the global commitments. Unfortunately, the challenges we face today require pragmatic solutions. We can’t wait until 2025 to scramble to report on SDG progress. National Statistical Offices and other planning ministries, departments or agencies at national and sub-national levels must move quickly to define priorities that envisage citizen’s aspirations; initiating relevant policy, legal, and economic reforms (while the political will lasts) in order to entrench the SDGs in formal government processes. It’s also time to reach out to other arms of government and entities that hitherto have not been sufficiently engaged. These include parliaments, local authorities, sub-national governments, national audit offices, and judiciaries. These institutions will play a critical role in mobilising resources, implementing, and exercising oversight over the SDGs promises. In Africa, however, we recognise the need for significant investment into major reforms to restore credibility and strengthen the capacity of these institutions to play their rightful role.

Doors Partially Open

At the global level, the doors for the NGO Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) to engage have been partially opened, but we are still struggling with bureaucratic systems of global inter-governmental bodies stuck in the old way of doing things. As a result, meaningful engagement remains elusive. We in civil society still have to anxiously wait for drafts from closed door negotiations; speculating, and chasing delegates and country missions in corridors to listen to and accommodate our views. We can do better:

  • Reforms are needed at every level to create genuine frameworks for more structured and predictable engagement.
  • We must also create safe spaces for candid engagement with governments that builds trust for longerterm mutual collaboration.
  • At the same time, civil society has to work harder at the national level to strategically engage and target decision makers and missions before they arrive at major international conferences and forums.
  • The existing space must be defended at all costs, while going back to the basics to draw legitimacy from the millions of ordinary citizens across the world.

Role of Partnerships

Realising impact from the SDGs will be difficult in the absence of good quality, timely, accurate, highly disaggregated and useable data. Citizens will need data converted into useable and contextualised information, presented in languages they can best understand and use. Partnerships will be critical to ensure a fully functional ecosystem of data users and producers at the community, sub-national, national, regional, and global levels. To address this need, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has been formed to support multi-stakeholder data initiatives to harness the power of data for achieving the SDGs. The GPSDD is catalysing action for mutually benefitting collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Ask me about any other open initiative seizing the moment and openly reaching out to multiple stakeholders across the globe in an atmosphere devoid of bureaucracy to harness the “data revolution” and I will point to none. Well-meaning partners and critics with innovative ideas need to join others to share their perspectives and collectively catalyse actions that will deliver results. Similar partnerships must emerge at the national-level to make it all possible.

Shrinking Civic Space

The rapidly shrinking space for civil society and other development actors to operate should worry us all. Disguised in narratives on transparency, accountability and openness are numerous incidences of narrowed civic space and widely documented impunity with which civic actors and human rights defenders are crushed by their own governments. How do these same governments deliver on their promises of sustainable development if they trample on the rights of those who entrust them with power and resources? At CIVICUS we continue to strongly advocate for improved civic space and the strengthening of civil society for citizen action. If governments are to hold their SDG promise to “leave no-one behind” they must create an enabling environment for citizens to prosper and contribute meaningfully to governance and development processes in the post-2015 era.

Through DataShift we continue to work across regions with multiple stakeholders to contextualise the Global Goals through direct support, improving the credibility and coverage of citizen-generated data, and drawing on multiple sources of data to monitor implementation and progress on SDGs; while creating replicable models, facilitating engagements, and sharing learning. We currently have a special focus on collaboration at the sub-national level in our pilot countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Nepal, and Argentina), and through partnerships support other initiatives across the world.

We invite you to subscribe to our DataShift newsletter so that we can update you on our efforts, learnings, and opportunities to share and learn from our DataShift community!

Why the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Matters to Civil Society

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This article is cross-posted from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data blog.

A lot has happened since the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Post-2015 coined the term ‘data revolution’  in 2013, describing the need to harness the exponential increase in the volume, quality, and sources of data to successfully deliver the new sustainable development agenda. In particular, we’ve seen an international group of experts put forward its vision for mobilising the data revolution, along with the Cartagena Data Festival where ideas, innovations and partnerships for the agenda were further fostered.

But it is the launch of a new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data which represents the most substantive effort yet to see the data revolution move from a concept to a reality for stakeholders across the world. Following its launch back in September of 2015 during the annual meeting of UN General Assembly, the diverse group of governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, businesses, academics and myriad of other actors involved in the Global Partnership have been busily working to define what it aims to achieve, and have now put in place many of the structures and activities required to get there.

Poor data is an important factor in bad decision-making and weakens accountability, thereby limiting our ability to tackle pressing issues such as poverty and hunger, environmental protection, and humanitarian crises. One of the main ideas behind the Global Partnership, therefore, is the need to better link the growing number of data producers and users to provide us with the detailed, comprehensive information required to effectively drive sustainable development forward. Recognising that no single stakeholder can propel progress alone, the Global Partnership wants to foster unprecedented cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration across the full gamut of sustainable development actors, from citizens to statistics professionals.

What will the Global Partnership do?

This Global Partnership aims to be an inclusive, comprehensive platform that will support all sustainable development stakeholders by promoting:

  • Standards and policies that bolster global, national and local data initiatives
  • Data generation that can help to fill key data gaps, especially for monitoring the SDGs
  • Expanded data access for policymakers, civil society and citizens
  • Data use to improve development outcomes, through peer learning and catalysing financial support for capacity building on data use

It will do this by convening large and specialised events and initiatives, pushing for solid political commitments and action, coordinating capacity building efforts, mobilising new resources and facilitating peer learning, as well as promoting and helping to scale up innovations.

Several distinct but closely linked working groups are driving these activities forward, with the support of a small secretariat hosted by the UN Foundation.

Why is the Global Partnership a good thing for civil society?

New technologies offer exciting new ways for citizens and their organisations to generate and use data in democratic and creative ways. The Global Partnership can provide them with a mechanism for both navigating through and benefiting from the Data Revolution.

  • It can directly support citizens and civil society to become more effective, more coordinated data generators, as well as helping to ensure that this data is actually used to empower individuals and influence decision making on sustainable development.
  • Civil society are also huge users of data – increasingly using it to drive advocacy, accountability and programming efforts. The Global Partnership can help civil society unlock more resources to build their capacity to do this.
  • It will also provide civil society and other non-governmental data producers with unique opportunities to collaborate with national statistical offices and feed into official SDG monitoring efforts. Civil society also has an opportunity – by engaging as a valued and equal stakeholder in the Global Partnership – for continuing to push for data to be open and accessible to all.

Our role in the Global Partnership

These are certainly big aspirations and there’s much work to be done before civil society organisations will begin benefitting from these efforts. To help ensure civil society has an equal seat at the Partnership’s highest decision making table, CIVICUS has pledged to be an anchor partner in this process and will therefore be working via DataShift and other linked efforts, such as a global consultation (including an event at ICSW 2016 in April), to ensure that civil society and citizen-generated data are recognised as integral components of the data revolution and those producing it receive the necessary support to build upon and better coordinate these efforts.

The Global Partnership must resonate with civil society at all levels – national, regional and global – so that civil society becomes an active and invested partner. CIVICUS will therefore be engaging with organisations from far and wide on the Global Partnership, also helping to identify additional civil society partners to come on board.

For more information, including how to get involved in the Global Partnership please contact our DataShift’s focal point for the GPSDD, Jack Cornforth, at jack.cornforth@civicus.org.

Citizen-Generated Data and Governments: Towards a Collaborative Model

In advance of this week’s Open Government Partnership Summit, we’re very happy today to launch “Citizen-Generated Data and Governments: Towards a Collaborative Model”.

This piece explores the idea that governments could host and publish citizen-generated data (CGD) themselves, and whether this could mean that data is applied more widely and in a more sustainable way. It was inspired by a recent meeting in Buenos Aires with Argentine civil society organizations and government representatives, hosted by the City of Buenos Aires Innovation and Open Government Lab (Laboratorio de innovación y Gobierno Abierto de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires).

cgd-govt-reports-cover-imageThe meeting was organized to explore how people within government think about citizen-generated data, and discuss what would be needed for them to consider it as a valid method of data generation. One of the most novel and exciting ideas that surfaced was the potential for government open data portals, such as that managed by the Buenos Aires Innovation Lab, to host and publish CGD.

We wrote this report to explore this issue further, looking at existing models of data collaboration and outlining our first thoughts on the benefits and obstacles this kind of model might face. We welcome feedback from those with deeper expertise into different aspects of citizen-generated data, and look forward to refining these thoughts in the future together with the broader community.

Members of the DataShift team will be attending the OGP Summit in Mexico City, and would be happy to discuss further – Mario and Zara will be speaking at this session on citizen reporting platforms at 2pm on Tuesday 27th as part of the Civil Society day and – together with Majo and Tin – will be attending the whole three days as well.

For comments on the piece, please get in touch with Zara – zara@theengineroom.org

Citizen-generated data at the Eye on Earth Summit

By Zara Rahman

Last week, I joined the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi to discuss the challenge of getting, accessing and using information and data to support sustainable development. The event was much more focused on the policy side of access to data and information than much of the DataShift work that I’ve been involved with so far, so it was fascinating to see this crowd’s priorities, and what they were talking about.

Given the focus of the conference on environmental outcomes and sustainable development, citizen-generated data was discussed within the realm of citizen science – and, to my slight surprise, it was extremely prominent throughout the three days.

Read more

How can civil society collaborate to bolster SDG monitoring?

By Jack Cornforth and Kate Higgins

After nearly three years of intergovernmental discussions and unprecedented participation from civil society and other stakeholders, the outcome document for September’s Post-2015 Summit has now been agreed. The text clearly acknowledges that civil society organisations have a big role to play in ‘Transforming Our World’.  But it lacks clarity about exactly how civil society organisations can support the implementation, monitoring and review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more