This post continues coverage of breakout sessions held at the 7th Annual Aid Management program Good Practices Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal.
At the crux of the Data Revolution is an increased use of data for government decision making. However, this tenet is often coupled with the assumption that a data-driven culture already exists.
The Importance of Access
When asked how domestic data use could be ramped up, a representative from the Government of Malawi underscored the need for accessible data. Infrastructure limitations, such as spotty Internet connectivity or expensive technology, curb the ability to review – let alone analyze – information. In Malawi’s case, the government is currently grappling with making technology and accessibility affordable.
But is having both data and citizens online enough?
Encouraging Data-Driven Decision Making
Increased data availability does not guarantee an increased uptake or usage. As pointed out by a Government of Niger representative, removing access constraints does not automatically shift a bureaucratic or civic culture. Using data in decision making is a skill that needs to be learned, just as much as cleaning or verifying datasets and it requires a supportive culture.
So how do we shift from qualitative to quantitative decision making? With partner governments, Development Gateway is working to catalyze data uptake through identifying “data champions” – high-ranking officials in government departments who push their peers towards data-driven decision making. Importantly, building a data culture and improving accessibility are not mutually exclusive; both can be tackled in tandem, and are vital to making the Data Revolution work for everyone.
Image: Government of Malawi Representatives at #AMPWS2014.
Representatives from Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) will be attending the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) from September 5-9 in Kigali, Rwanda to highlight two projects: the Visualizing Insights on African Agriculture (VIFAA) project and the Farmer-Centric Data Governance Models project.
In Episode 2 of "Data…for What?!," a podcast series from Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) which explores our new strategic plan, Josh Powell met with experts from DG and IREX to discuss DG’s expansion into the education, media and disinformation, and youth sectors. The conversations explore the most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities for data and technology to positively impact these sectors and discuss how these trends are likely to play out in the years ahead. Based on these trends, the experts explain the unique fit for DG’s skills and specific opportunities for collaboration that align with the vision of DG’s partnership with IREX, which has a long and successful history working in each sector.
To help contextualize the new Strategic Plan, we are launching a podcast series called Data… for What?! This series consists of 5 episodes in Josh Powell and Vanessa Goas talk to DGers throughout the organization – as well as collaborators within our strategic partner, IREX - about how and why we prioritized the various elements of the new strategy. In this first episode, we talk to Kristin Lord, President and CEO of IREX about how our partnership fits into the Strategic Plan; and to Aleks Dardelli, Executive Vice President of IREX and Chair of DG’s Board of Directors, about the process of putting the Plan together at this opportune, yet precarious, global moment.