Taking advantage of over 400 delegates from more than 120 countries in Johannesburg, South Africa, for International Civil Society Week (ICSW) from 21-24 November 2014, the Big Development DataShift consultations at ICSW sought to explore data-related strengths and challenges faced by civil society organisations (CSOs); test levels of understanding about the objectives and approach of the DataShift; further define particular areas where the DataShift could provide CSOs with support; and engage potential DataShift partners.
Key lessons from our consultations were:
1. CSOs possess a number of strengths which the DataShift should leverage, including:
- An existing ability to collect large amounts of data in many different forms
- Extensive networks of diverse stakeholders
- A healthy scepticism about the ‘data revolution’
2. Many CSOs face similar challenges around the collection and use of data. These include:
- Internal capacity to generate data
- Accessing data and using data in advocacy and programming
- Credibility challenges when generating and using data
3. Priority areas where CSOs think the DataShift could provide useful support include:
- Lesson learning, coordination and partnerships between CSOs and between CSOs and other stakeholders
- Building capacity on data collection, use and curation
- Creating an enabling environment (for example, supportive legislation around data access) for CSOs around data
We will be consolidating what we have learnt from our consultations soon and look forward to sharing the lessons from the consultations and the DataShift’s next steps.