This post is excerpted from Development Gateway’s June newsletter. Click here to receive DG’s newsletter directly to your email.
In the “Data Revolution” for development, results data – outcome and output information – are often cited as key drivers of programming. Behind such terms as “value for money” and “adaptive programming” is the assumption that we can measure progress, and design our approaches based on what has been proven to succeed.
However, are results data good enough, and used well enough, to truly enable more effective development? Through the Results Data Initiative (RDI), we have sought to understand whether current data satisfy the needs of key decision-makers, and how data quality, processes, and use can be improved.
Over the past year, we have spoken with over 450 local actors across Ghana, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka to better understand data needs in health and agriculture sectors. In parallel, our data analysts have scraped project report documents from major donors to “join up” results information. Country-specific findings are forthcoming; the work of our data team can be viewed in an interactive data visualization portal.
This phase of RDI will culminate in an event on July 13 at the OpenGov Hub – which we invite you to attend – as well as various regional meetings in our countries of focus. However, our work on understanding local data needs, and pushing the development community to improve results data collection, sharing, and use, is far from over. We look forward to continuing to champion local priorities, innovative data collection and sharing methods, and data-driven decision-making.
If an organization with an existing culture of learning and adaptation gets lucky, and an innovative funding opportunity appears, the result can be a perfect storm for changing everything. The Results Data Initiative was that perfect storm for DG. RDI confirmed that simply building technology and supplying data is not enough to ensure data is actually used. It also allowed us to test our assumptions and develop new solutions, methodologies & approaches to more effectively implement our work.
From our experience understanding data use, the primary obstacle to measuring and organizational learning from feminist outcomes is that development actors do not always capture gender data systematically. What can be done to change that?
Development Gateway’s mission is to support the use of data, technology, and evidence to create more effective and responsive institutions. We envision a world where institutions listen and respond to the needs of their constituents; are accountable; and are efficient in targeting and delivering services that improve lives. Since late 2018, we’ve been operating under