As a development community, we invest a great deal in data-related activities – particularly for monitoring and results reporting. But are the ways in which we gather, share, and use this information as efficient and impactful as they must be, to achieve the 2030 Agenda?
Over the past year, through our Results Data Initiative (RDI), Development Gateway sought to understand how local-level development actors interact with results information. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the RDI team interviewed 450+ representatives from national governments, local officials, development partners, and NGOs in three countries – Ghana, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka – focusing on health and agriculture sectors.
The major lessons? Local actors want more specific, disaggregated data to measure their results – and need resources to ensure data quality. They ask for tools, skills, and resources to use data well. And, just as importantly, they need space – and incentives – to use data meaningfully. Development leaders need to make data use a priority, and reward those who use data meaningfully to improve their impact. Finally, local actors need resources to do something differently as a result of data-driven insights.
Data and technology are powerful tools for development – but we must do more to mainstream data and technology use into decision-making and budgeting processes. No easy task, DG aims to tackle these “political economy of data issues” through new and existing program initiatives over the coming year.
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