Exploring the use and impact of citizen-generated data initiatives

Three research teams based in the DataShift’s pilot locations – Argentina, East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) and Nepal – are looking deeper into the impact of citizen-generated data initiatives in their own countries. Each team will be conducting in-depth research into the impact of five ongoing or completed citizen-generated data initiatives that address issues relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals.

They’re examining how initiatives’ data has been used by others; how projects check the quality of their data, whether the initiative is likely to last in the long term; and how the data is received at the local level.

Meet the teams:


Centro de investigaciones para la transformación (CENIT) (Mariano Fressoli and Valeria Arza)

CENIT conducts research in a number of areas related to the economy of innovation and sustainable development, including studies on grassroots innovation, open science and natural resources and innovation.

They have recently conducted research on experiences in agroecology, appropriate technology, hackerspaces and fablabs – and are currently working on two research projects focused on open science and civic participation, including a project on the relationships between alternative science and open-collaborative science in agriculture. Mariano specialises in the analysis of innovation and sustainable development, democratization of knowledge, and technology and  culture, while Valeria’s research focuses on knowledge interactions and socio-technical studies of science and technology.

Kenya and Tanzania:

Elizabeth Maina, Linda Oduor-Noah and Crystal Simeoni

Elizabeth, Crystal and Linda bring together a range of research experience covering areas including governance, social innovation and culture.

Elizabeth has implemented programs on legislative strengthening activities within the counties in Kenya, as well as coordinating learning around cultural activities for the Danish Centre for Culture and Development. Crystal is responsible for planning, generating and delivering projects related to Transparency & Accountability and Freedom of Expression at Hivos, including policy and lobbying for the data revolution and Africa Data Consensus (with a focus on citizen and community data). Finally, as a researcher and research coordinator at the University of Cape Town, Linda has been involved in a variety of governance-related research projects, looking at issues ranging from alcohol policy and violence prevention in the public health realm, to service delivery in local government and the monitoring of national commitments as they relate to South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP).


Local Interventions Group (Pranav Budhathoki and Cate Johnson)

Local Interventions Group has founded and managed a range of citizen-generated data initiatives in Nepal, often in close collaboration with the government.

As founder of LIG, Pranav has led projects including the Mapping for Transparency and Accountability project, which crowdsourced over 2,000 reports of service delivery through SMS short-code, a toll-free hotline and face-to-face reports, and held discussions on the data with Nepal’s Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.Cate specializes in data cleaning, analysis and visualization, and is currently working with Local Interventions Group as an AidData Fellow.

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. Read more >>