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How citizen-generated data can accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals

GPSA Knowledge Platform forums Discussions with Experts How citizen-generated data can accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Quincy Quincy 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #5417
    Profile photo of Kristin
    Kristin
    @kjantin
    United States

    Hi everyone and welcome to this e-forum entitled “How citizen-generated data can accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals”. I’m Kristin Antin from the DataShift team and I will be co-facilitating this forum along with Jeff Hall, a lawyer and freelance consultant, and Federico Ramírez, who leads the Technological Innovation for Advocacy Unit at Fundar.

    As governments develop their plans for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is an opportunity for citizen themselves to identify ways of ensuring the accountable delivery of the SDGs. It may be too early to find examples of citizens successfully monitoring the SDGs by using citizen-generated data, but we do have many case studies in which citizen-generated data influences and changes official data collection. We believe there is a lot we can learn from these examples to apply to our use of citizen-generated data to monitor the SDGs.

    This e-forum is an opportunity to explore these examples, pull out the lessons, and consider how these efforts relate to the SDGs. What worked well that can be replicated? What didn’t work that could be avoided or mitigated? What challenges were and are being faced by practitioners implementing these initiatives? And what kind of support is needed?

    The e-forum will last two weeks, from May 5 to 19. Throughout this time, Jeff, Federico and I will provide questions for you to respond to, but we also encourage people to react and comment to each other’s posts because the most important learning comes from sharing and exchanging among us.

    To get the forum started, we invite you to introduce yourself:
    – who you are,
    – what you do, and
    – your experience (or interest) working on citizen-generated initiatives.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Kristin

  • #5423
    Profile photo of Shahidul
    Shahidul
    @shahid
    Bangladesh

    Hi all,
    I am Shahid from Bangladesh. Working for achieving community participation and voice for health service utilization and accountability. we have data a collection tool, which people took themselves and collect regular data on various indicator which covering MDG targets.

  • #5424
    Profile photo of Kimbowa
    Kimbowa
    @kimbowarichard
    Uganda

    I am Kimbowa Richard from Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development based in Kampala. UCSD is part of the evolving Uganda NGO SDGs Reference Group facilitated by the Uganda National NGO Forum, that is at the moment preparing to make an input to the formal process of the voluntary Uganda National report, and an independent report to the HLPF

    UCSD has been working with partners in Tanzania and Kenya to track progress in implementation of the region-wide Lake Victoria Environment Management Project (November 2012 – May 2015). Interest was on how the community-driven development projects were implemented and documenting the beneficiaries voice. Among others, we prepared policy briefs: The LVEMPII CDD subprojects Watch series as a result of this project. More: http://www.ugandacoalition.or.ug

  • #5425
    Profile photo of Tyler
    Tyler
    @tylerfarrow
    United Kingdom

    Hi,

    My name’s Tyler and I work with Water Witness International, a UK based NGO which works on water resources management. One of the focuses of our work is the application of social accountability approaches to water resources management. I am interested to learn about how citizen generated data can contribute to achievement of the SDGs (particularly SDG 6) and how we can improve our own approach to collecting/using citizen generated data. I’m also keen to learn more about the funding opportunities available to support such work. Thank you.

  • #5426
    Profile photo of Adriana
    Adriana
    @aarellano
    Ecuador

    Hello eveyone,

    My name is Adriana and I am from Ecuador. I am the Research Director at Grupo FARO and we are interested in engaging a collective form by more than 100 organizations in SDG monitoring using citizen-gathered data. We have previous experience on citizen-gathered data in environmental initiatives that engaged citizens and volunteers to monitor key environmental indicators to gather and analyze information on forest deforestation in the Amazon jungle. We are interested in learning from other experiences in order to develop a potent initiative.

  • #5427

    Hi Kristin, Jeff, Shahidul, Kimbowa, Tyler and Adriana,
    … and the rest to come in as well …
    My name is Aly Lala, Mozambican. I’ve been engaged in two social accountability initiatives implemented by Concern Universal Mozambique, MuniSAM and SAKSAN, and their ONE favorite tool is Evidence-Based. This is why social audit, qualitative data collection (user perceptions) and public hearings or health auditoriums are held as part of one single chain to voice out community needs, stimulating change conducive to the improvement of public services provided, that’s our ToC.

    When I hear the questions put forward by Kristie up there, I start thinking of CSOs defining the measurement of SDGs in countries and regions, but I’m also thinking about “How can we really ensure that we are a key part in assuring accountability from the very beginning of this process”?

    Aly

    • #5462
      Profile photo of Davis
      Davis
      @davisadieno
      Kenya

      My name is Davis Adieno. I work with CIVICUS and more specifically with the DataShift team to strengthen the capacity of civil society to produce and use citizen-generated data to monitor sustainable development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change.

      Aly Lala, your question on “How can we really ensure that we are a key part in assuring accountability from the very beginning of the SDGs process” is both very interesting and challenging. After the United Nations Statistical Commission approved the list of targets and indicators, national level government institutions especially national bureaus of statistics were tasked to go back and contextualise these. Additionally they were advised to come up with new targets and indicators not defined at the global level, but relevant for local level development needs. These will constitute national level SDG monitoring frameworks to be integrated in development planning and tasked to government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to implement as part of their annual and medium term plans. In most cases this tends to be a technical process that government only work with multi-lateral agencies and UN agencies to define, to the exclusion of other CSOs. This needs to change.

      Civil society cannot assure accountability on things they don’t know. You therefore have to learn which agencies are developing the indicators in your country, what is being prioritised for implementation and when, and the processes to be used. As difficult as it may seem, you want to lobby those agencies to involve you in the process, or at the very least hold stakeholder engagement forums for feedback on their final list of national targets and indicators, and gather information on the roll out process. If this doesn’t work at the very least get hold of the final list and review it with peers and write memorandum with your feedback.

      If you agree with the final list you can then define your role in supporting implementation and monitoring of progress and making this known to government. Its important to note that you will need to hold yourselves and the government to account for the commitments you make to support the process. You have to proactively get involved, and claim your space in a way that is supportive rather than disruptive at this initial stage to assure accountability – the latter can be used when things are not going well further down the road. Through shadow monitoring, your social accountability tools will provide evidence from citizen-generated data that will critically assess whether progress is being made or not on the ground, raise red flags whenever necessary, and engage government to highlight areas of weakness and how improvements can be done.

      I hope this is helpful!!

  • #5432
    Profile photo of Kristin
    Kristin
    @kjantin
    United States

    Welcome to this e-forum @shahid, @kimbowarichard, @tylerfarrow, @aarellano, @alala – and thank you for introducing yourselves!

    I’d like to learn more about all of these great initiatives, and what lessons you have learned so far. Please reply to this comment and share your thoughts on some (or all!) of these questions:

    Data: What types of data are you collecting from citizens? How are you collecting, storing and analyzing it? How are you sharing the analysis back to those who have contributed data to your initiative? Can you share examples?
    Engagement: How many people have participated? How did you encourage them to participate? What has worked well in terms of engaging citizens to participate in your initiative? What hasn’t worked as well that you want to change? What advice would you share to someone new?
    Connection to official data: Have you had any interaction with “official” data collection initiatives? What is that relationship like? How have you been able to advocate for the consideration and inclusion of citizen-generated data into “official” data collection initiatives? What has worked well? What hasn’t? What advice would you share? What lessons have you learned?

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

    Best,
    Kristin

    • #5451
      Profile photo of Kimbowa
      Kimbowa
      @kimbowarichard
      Uganda

      — Data: What types of data are you collecting from citizens? How are you collecting, storing and analyzing it? How are you sharing the analysis back to those who have contributed data to your initiative? Can you share examples?

      During the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project Civil Society Watch Project (Nov 2012 – May 2015), we carried out 6 case studies to assess implementation of the Community-Driven Develoment (CDD) subprojects from the community beneficiaries’ perspective and in relation to soil and water conservation in selected river catchments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. These were summarised into policy briefs in form of 3 LVEMP II Civil Society Watch CDD Watch briefs from 2013 – 2015 (preceded by a baseline study). The study findings were shared with the project implementers at national and regional (Lake Victoria Basin Commission / regional LVEMPII Coordination). But before this we had national validation meetings in each country that brought communities, local governments, media, national LVEMPII Coordination staff and NGOs. Apart from validation, the discussion helped to confirm issues that were summarized in the LVEMPII CDD Subprojects Watch briefs for advocacy purposes at the national and regional level.

      Furthermore the findings were packaged and shared with wider audience in East Africa (and beyond) through our electronic newsletter (The LVEMPII CS watch E bulletin) and the print newsletter (East African SusWatchdog newsletter)

      We also took advantage of the quarterly community meetings and the monthly media briefs to disseminate the findings and recommendations to these 2 target audiences in respective formats.

      — Engagement: How many people have participated? How did you encourage them to participate? What has worked well in terms of engaging citizens to participate in your initiative? What hasn’t worked as well that you want to change? What advice would you share to someone new?

      The project engaged over 2,000 community members (directly through community meetings, campaigns and other events) in the 3 countries. Encouraging communities to participate was a slow process as they were reluctant at first. But over time we were able to show to them the value-addition of being part of this watchdog project to secure that the regional LVEMPII project realizes the set objectives in relation to the Community-Driven Development Sub projects (where they were the primary beneficiaries). In addition to this we facilitated their travel and provided lunch to the meetings, which further made them open up and be active participants.

      In addition, we engaged interested media in the 3 countries through the regular monthly meetings to share the process regarding implementation of the LVEMPII project as we saw it, emerging issues and planned activities.

      — Connection to official data: Have you had any interaction with “official” data collection initiatives? What is that relationship like? How have you been able to advocate for the consideration and inclusion of citizen-generated data into “official” data collection initiatives? What has worked well? What hasn’t? What advice would you share? What lessons have you learned?

      At the start, it ws pretty hard to get the LVEMPII Coordination at LVBC to openly share project benchmarks (targets and indicators). It was later possible after a few interactive meetings with them (prompted by the donor Government of Sweden). This opened up for us with the national coordination units as well. We then sustained our sharing of information with all the coordination units and encouraged them to reciprocate. By the end of the Project the relationship between our work and the LVEMPII project coordination was far better than it was at the start when there was an atmosphere of resentment and suspicion (who & why the watchdog?)

      • #5464
        Profile photo of Kristin
        Kristin
        @kjantin
        United States

        Thanks for sharing this, @kimbowarichard! It’s interesting that what helped you engage local government only after they were “prompted by the donor Government of Sweden”. I would imagine it’s difficult to build trust with the local government sees you as a ‘watchdog’, or simply as an initiative that is there to challenge official data and their approach. But it’s helpful to know that a third-party ally of both institutions can potentially bridge the gap.

        Have others in this forum leveraged relationships with funders or other influential allies outside of your org and the government institution to build trust and opportunities for collaboration? it would be great to hear your story!

  • #5433
    Profile photo of Heather
    Heather
    @heathergilberds
    Canada

    Hello everyone. My name is Heather Gilberds and I am the Director of Insights at VOTO Mobile – a social enterprise that uses low tech mobile engagement (IVR and SMS) to help organizations reach the hardest to reach people. VOTO’s platform is designed to send and receive both voice and text messages, and is used in behaviour change initiatives, information-sharing, evidence-gathering and rapid feedback loops. We work across development sectors, including democracy and governance, health, education, agriculture and research and evaluation.

    DATA: Our research has found that it is difficult to collect data from marginalized groups of people due to barriers such as harsh environments, low literacy levels and multiple local languages. We have found that voice polls and surveys improve response rates by 10x compared to SMS surveys. We also found that using voice rather than SMS increases the participation of rural people and women in surveys and polls.

    ENGAGEMENT: Our research has found that external incentives (i.e. mobile airtime or financial rewards) do little to incentivize citizen participation, but that appealing to civic virtues or shared community values is more successful.

    • #5449
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Thanks for sharing these learnings, Heather! How interesting that voice elicits more response than SMS, and that external incentives don’t impact the response rate.

      Can you explain a bit more how your platform uses voice polls and surveys? How does that work? Is the respondent sharing their data with you via voice? How is that data analyzed? It sounds like it would be really complicated and expensive so I’m really curious to learn how civil society organizations can take advantage of this kind of technology.

      I noticed that your website has a number of case studies – great! I encourage anyone interested in learning more to explore the examples there: https://www.votomobile.org/case-studies

      Thanks!
      Kristin

    • #5452
      Profile photo of Kimbowa
      Kimbowa
      @kimbowarichard
      Uganda

      @heathergilberds on data, I partially agree with you that it is difficult to collect data from marginalized groups of people due to several barriers. However, using Participatory approaches remains important in collection of data from communities. My take on this is that much as ICT is an effective and efficient tool, it may not wholly replace the ‘traditional’ methods but rather supplement them.

      Again on incentives, it might appear true that external incentives (i.e. mobile airtime or financial rewards) do little to incentivize citizen participation, rather than appealing to civic virtues or shared community values is more successful. But this all depends on how this is set out from the start (what is the relevance of the data to the ordinary communities? are there basic costs that need to be offset to secure full participation of ALL? How best can this be met?). There are instances where modest facilitation of communities to come to meetings (refund on travel and provision of lunches) makes a huge difference over time. On the contrary, without such incentive the likelihood to collect data might fail.

      This is my experience working in Uganda / East Africa

  • #5434
    Profile photo of Jeff
    Jeff
    @jeffhall
    US

    Thanks for all these very interesting examples and comments, everyone!

    I wonder how people see the potential tension between reporting that is useful for SDGs and reporting that is useful and realistic for communities.

    Surely communities cannot measure everything. So who gets to choose what to measure? On the one hand, If CSOs choose what to measure across a programme area, we risk undermining some of the fundamental principles of participatory monitoring that we want to advance. On the other hand, if each community measures whatever it wants, we lose the opportunity to aggregate data, since there will be no comparability or standardization among data sets.

    How have folks sought to strike the right balance in the field?

    I would also be interested in hearing about examples where CSOs have collaborated to monitor common indicators at the community level in order to build a stronger evidence base for policy change at the district, provincial, or national level. Do we have examples where CS has reached scale by actively and voluntarily working together in this way?

    • #5450
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Great questions, @jeffhall! I look forward to reading others’ responses to these.

      In response to your questions about examples where CS has collaboratively collected data on indicators in order to make a policy change, we have a case study that might be helpful.

      In our Changing What Counts report, we have a case study titled “Who actually has access to water? Reconsidering water supply measurements” from Malawi.
      http://civicus.org/thedatashift/learning-zone/research/changing-what-counts/who-actually-has-access-to-water/

      The case study describes the efforts of WaterAid, an international civil society organisation dedicated to improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. “WaterAid aims to improve data collection regarding the actual delivery of water services at the district level.” WaterAid works directly with civil society to identify the data points and to collect the data – but this may not be the same type of “collaboration” that you are referring to. I would imagine that WaterAid reaches out to other CSOs working on water issues, but it isn’t clear.

      The outcome? “The data and maps that WaterAid championed were used to highlight gaps and inadequacies in official data collection practices around the provision of water at district level. This directly led to new forms of data collection, which were implemented in collaboration with public institutions, community groups and other actors.” This approach is now being used in other countries.

      What other examples are out there of civil society monitoring community indicators together in order to make change at the district/country level? Please share!

      Thanks,
      Kristin

  • #5435
    Profile photo of DOSSE
    DOSSE
    @sossougadoss
    Togo

    Hello you all,
    Data is the foundation of the SDG success. Now, how citizen-generated data can accelerate progress?
    1-/ Citizen must have big data training with new technology opportunities.
    2-/ data collection expertise (marginalised groups, income, age, health, widows, orphanes, migrants, indigenous, households conditions ( water, energy, cook stove, latrines,…), number of persons in charge, unemployment youth, disable persons, albinos, castes, Rooms others minorities)
    3-/ Population involvement: it means that population must be educated to SDGs avantages and the importance of data collection.
    4-/ political support and open government partnership
    5-/ CSO data collection finance
    6-/ data innovation
    6-/ Citizen Network can help achieving this quickly.

  • #5436
    Profile photo of Amitabh
    Amitabh
    @amitabh
    India

    Hi

    I’m Amitabh Mukhopadhyay, formerly in Office of CAG of India and currently helping State Audit Office of Republic of Georgia to advance public participation in its work.

    I was also involved in the UN/INTOSAI discussions on what citizens would expect from their audit institutions in the course of governments implementing SDGs. My first point in this discussion is that State Audit institutions can be a major channel for gathering information citizens have or can give — to be checked against government information by the audit teams who will try to sift information/verify it etc as part of their work. But to do this, State Audit offices have to work out modalities for public participation. In other words, State Audit offices must change the ways they do their work before they can serve as a useful channel for citizens’ information to be harnessed for SDGs.

    At the UN/INTOSAI forum I argued that this is especially necessary in 4 areas that SDGs would be concerned with : combating corruption, shared accountability of private and public agencies in PPPs, creating a care economy, and in environmental concerns.

    Amitabh

    • #5465
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Thank you @amitabh for sharing this idea of leveraging State Audit institutions in this way! I was wondering if you know of any specific examples where this is currently being tested, or where it has been done successfully (or unsuccessfully). Please share any information on these examples if they exist!

      Thanks,
      Kristin

    • #5501
      Profile photo of Jeff
      Jeff
      @jeffhall
      US

      Amitabh,

      I think your example of using SAIs to complete the top half of the accountability “sandwich” is also a very useful one. GPSA has done some work on this issue of SAIs – have you been in touch with Marcos Mendiburu? Would be interested to hear more about your experience on the ground in India.

  • #5437
    Profile photo of DOSSE
    DOSSE
    @sossougadoss
    Togo

    Please, I’m DOSSE SOSSOUGA President of NGO: Amis des Etrangers au Togo (ADET). I would like data Expert in our data revolution moment: datashift expertise will be better for me in Togo. As Togo is a pilot country.

    • #5466
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Welcome to the forum, @sossougadoss! Can you share more about your initiative – what your goals are, what kind of data you are collecting, and what kind of expertise you need?

      Thank you!
      Kristin

  • #5438
    Profile photo of Balla Fall
    Balla Fall
    @bfniang
    Senegal

    My name is Balla Fall Niang, from World Vision Senegal. I’m managing a national project called Senegal CVA project. I’ve been working in a social accountability approach called citizen voice and action (CVA) since 2010. I was very excited to hear Jeff’s voice former World Vision global CVA Director.
    This approach promotes citizen engagement towards dialogue between service users, service providers and local government in order to improve services in the community; mainly education and health sectors.
    CVA approach collects quantative and qualitative data to have enough information to convince and bring the local government to responsiveness.
    In Senegal, government policies are very clearly written, standards about each service are defined, but most services do not respect standards and affects the quality of the services.
    Citizen engagement can bring the government respond to needs. In about 47 education and health services in my project, more than 50% have now reached 60% increase of standards which have affected quality service mainly in health sector (compared to baseline)
    As for qualitative data, vulnerable groups have given feedbacks to the government policies by defining what an ideal service looks like. In most cases, at least 2 or 3 years after, communities receive better quality service.
    But citizen mobilisation and engagement is the key success of that. And depends on to 2 mains aspect: one is capacity and volunteer of access to information and the other is their capacity of mobilisation for final victory. This, i should say is the issue in small communities in Senegal because they are less representative considering the number of voices.

    • #5467
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Thank you for sharing about your work in Senegal, @bfniang! And congratulations on the successes you’ve had so far! It’s always great to hear that citizen engagement *can* impact and improve the delivery of government services. Bravo!

      I’m interested to learn more about what the project looked like – you write that “vulnerable groups have given feedbacks to the government policies by defining what an ideal service looks like”. How did people share this feedback? Via mobile phone (SMS or other?)? or an online form? or paper surveys? Can you share an example of how someone defined what an ideal service looks like? How many people did you engage, how long did it take, and who was involved in that process?

      Thanks!
      Kristin

      • #5500
        Profile photo of Jeff
        Jeff
        @jeffhall
        US

        Balla! Great to “see” you here. Very happy to hear about the progress that you’ve made, especially with respect to health. I recall that the team in Senegal was struggling more in health than in the education sector. Am curious about what changed and created a better “enabling environment”.

        Am waiting for my invitation to Senegal – will be great to see you again soon!

        • #5503
          Profile photo of Balla Fall
          Balla Fall
          @bfniang
          Senegal

          Hello Kristin !
          The score card session is the tool used to collect qualitative data. Vulnerable people will give their point of views in the service delivered in their community through focus group discussions. Facilitator can organise up to 7 focus groups of 15 persons each (10 to 15).
          They can give their point about what an ideal service looks like. They define performances and compare them to the real situation. After that, they comment scores and give solutions to gaps identified.
          This tool is only important during interface meeting. This one will allow the local government to discover gaps before taking engagements to correct after discussions between users, providers and local government.
          This process is strongly recommended by Act III of decentralization in Senegal (participatory budgeting). The local government should normally be happy to have this community gathering, citizen engagement to participate.
          Performance measures are given by service users mainly but in order to ba able to aggregate data, facilitator can identfy one or two major performances and propose them to the group for approval. Being sure that those standard P.M are evaluated everywhere and by everybody. Only that way could data be aggregated for national level advocacy. @bniang

          • #5504
            Profile photo of Balla Fall
            Balla Fall
            @bfniang
            Senegal

            Hello Jeff !
            In Senegal CVA is now being implemented in nearly all 29 ADPs. This semi-annual report is really encouraging. The project is being evaluated (final). The result will give me a much better understanding of CVA. I will share it with you.
            Some L.G may not respect engagements because of luck of means. Competencies are transferred to local governments but not consequent means from the central government.
            Aggregation of data is possible if only we according to your experience of context you chose 1 or 2 standards, and performance measures. But be sure that groups also have given more data than what is proposed. And also proposed standards or PM are discussed and approved. Most of the time if the standards rpoposed are important, they will first be proposed by groups.

    • #5496
      Profile photo of DOSSE
      DOSSE
      @sossougadoss
      Togo

      You know KRISTIN, data revolution will come with the SDGs implementation this Year 2016. I need Expert contribution to data collection, as I’m invited to partnership SDG Exchange with UN in July in New York.

  • #5439
    Profile photo of Amitabh
    Amitabh
    @amitabh
    India

    I liked what Heather Gilberd has said in her post. Useful.

    Would like to know how the voice calls dealt with multiple languages. Did you read out questions in each language ?

    Amitabh

  • #5448
    Profile photo of William
    William
    @wt48
    US

    Hello, my name is William Tarpai. I am a retired UNHCR professional officer, now on the Board of Directors for SOCAL <http://socalsistercities.org&gt;. I am interested in how to we might build into our workplan of action for southern California cities to include supporting achieving successful SDG outcomes attainment.

    We are very much involved in city-to-city partnerships, but through Sister Cities International <http://www.sistercities.org&gt;, we have increasingly become involved with partnerships and new collaborations.

    As part of our 60th anniversary, a 60 days of IMPACT campaign, beginning on May 14 until the day before our annual National Conference in July. If participants of this e-forum are in contact with individuals in cities with sister city partnerships, encourage them to tell their stories about how citizen engagement and cross-border dialogue may have helped improve services in their communities. (see the attachment for details)

    Noting the people and organizations involved in this discussion, I’m sure to come up with great suggestions.

  • #5453
    Profile photo of Rob
    Rob
    @rworthington
    South Africa

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks to Kristin, Jeff and others for organising this discussion. To respond to the early questions:

    Who you are

    I’m Rob Worthington, based in Cape Town and working with Kwantu. We specialise in using software to help both manage and monitor development activities. In the SAcc and governance space we’ve created bespoke mobile apps for Android tablets to manage and monitor community scorecard and (soon) social audits.

    What you do

    I’m involved in a variety of different projects and initiatives using social audits and community scorecards to engage citizens. These include:

    MuniSAM (supporting the project Ally mentions above)
    N’weti (a health NGO in Mozambique using community scorecards (CSC))
    CESC (an education NGO in Mozambique also using community scorecards)
    Citizen Engagement Programme (a large scale programme in Mozambique using scorecards in the health and education sector)

    You can see more on our work with CSC here – http://kwantu.net/community-scorecards/

    We’ve also recently started a new partnership with CARE and WorldVision called Everyone Counts. This is looking at how we can connect scorecard data collected by different organisations. I’ll talk more about this later.

    Your experience (or interest) working on citizen-generated initiatives

    My interests focus in a few areas:

    – How can technology be used to make existing SAcc approaches (like community scorecards and social audits) work better (ie speed up how we collect and use data, improve the efficiency of how we run activities etc.)
    – How do we balance the benefits of standardising SAcc interventions and how we collect data versus the need to adapt to local contexts?
    – How can we categorise qualitative data (such as that collected by CSC) to create quantitative data that we can aggregate?
    – How can we break down organisational silos and connect data collected by different organisations

    Everyone Counts – the initiative I mentioned earlier – is planning a pilot to explore some of these questions in a specific country. This will also provide the opportunity to explore ways in which aggregate data (from community scorecards) could be included alongside official data collection processes.

    I look forward to learning about work that others are doing and exploring connections as this initiative develops.

    • #5468
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Thanks for joining this e-forum @rworthington! Our DataShift team is very interested in all the questions you listed in your comment. This one stands out to me in particular: “How can we break down organisational silos and connect data collected by different organisations”. I wonder if you (or others in this forum!) had any initial ideas for how to approach this – or if you know of other groups who are actively working on addressing this challenge.

      Thanks!
      Kristin

      • #5493
        Profile photo of Rob
        Rob
        @rworthington
        South Africa

        Hi @kjantin,

        In response to your comment about “How can we break down organisational silos and connect data collected by different organisations”, this is a tough challenge. There are two approaches I can share, perhaps others can suggest alternatives.

        The first is widely used in the open data movement. As I understand it the model is to create a shared data registry or directory. These are often called Open Data portals. Organisations that wish to ‘publish’ and share data put it somewhere accessible and share a link and description in the directory.

        This approach is growing in usage, particularly where many organisations collect or generate the same kind of data. In cases like SAcc – where the types of data that citizens generate differ – it is harder to see how this would work.

        We are developing and piloting another approach which works in a more bottom-up way. This is based on organisations working on similar interventions agreeing and sharing core data collection forms. Instead of trying to standardise higher level data like indicators, this starts at the bottom by looking at the most basic data being collected. For example:

        A group taking part in a citizen engagement process
        A meeting that took place as part of the process
        A set of issues raised by the group
        An action plan agreed by the group
        And so on

        By agreeing and sharing common forms that work at the lowest level we hope to provide building blocks that partners can then add to, including other fields specific to their needs.

        We combine this then with tools to share data collected by each partner in a central database. This enables joint analysis of the core data collected to feed into joint planning, learning or advocacy. You can read a bit more here about our thinking – http://blog.kwantu.net/towards-a-new-approach-to-collecting-sharing-and-using-data-in-networks

        We’ll be piloting this in a couple of contexts this year, so can report back later with progress and lessons learned. If succesful this approach may be useful in cases where several organisations are implenting similar SAcc processes.

  • #5458
    Profile photo of Quincy
    Quincy
    @quincyw
    Nepal

    Hi All,

    My name is Quincy Wiele and i work for a non-profit called Local Interventions Group. Based in Nepal, we are working in the field of disaster- accountability as well as improved response in the post reconstruction phase currently underway. To do so, we have put in place several projects:
    1) The QuakeHelpdesk: started right after the first earthquake in 2015, the quakehelpdesk mobalised dozens of volunteers in each of the 14 affected districts to generate data as well as to assist people secure their entitlements.
    The data was generated through a mass survey and focused on community perceptions. We wanted to track the relief (and soon to start reconstruction) period according to the perceptions of the communities it was supposed to serve.
    The Quakehelpdesk has also been involved in providing accurate information to affected communities through newspaper articles and radio programs. The data generated from the surveys, along with a rumor tracking component of the quakehelpdesk, has revealed where/what sort of information is lacking in specific locations. To fill this information gap, we have been in direct communication with dozens of ministries, INGOs and other CSOs to ensure accurate information is relayed to them, improving their ability to access relief.
    2) Follow the Money: Another component of the Quakehelpdesk, Follow the Money is our disaster accountability project. As the name suggests, we map out relief flows into the district and provide this information to localised Citizen led disaster accountability taskforces (CiDAT) who then use this data to hold public officials accountable for the relief money. This data will soon be virtually mapped for all stakeholders to access.

    In the case of Nepal, CGD has been vital in:
    i) identifying shortcomings in the relief phase (lack of key information, inability to access entitlements)
    ii) directing the humanitarian response away from a model simply interested in providing aid to one that is more community-centric.
    iii) there is still resistance in CGD in Nepal but there is a growing movement of CGD in the country.

    this are some of my insights with working on CGD in Nepal

    • #5469
      Profile photo of Kristin
      Kristin
      @kjantin
      United States

      Thanks for sharing these insights @quincyw! Can you share more about the processes for collecting data from citizens for these two projects? What technologies and programs did you use? And how did you map the data? What challenges did you run into? What would you recommend to others?

      For those interested in learning more about citizen-generated data in Nepal, take a look at this DataShift report co-written by Quincy:
      http://civicus.org/thedatashift/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CGD-impact-report-Nepal.pdf

      QuakeHelpDesk: http://www.quakehelpdesk.org/

      Thanks!
      Kristin

      • #5506
        Profile photo of Quincy
        Quincy
        @quincyw
        Nepal

        Hi Kristin,
        Absolutely. Thank you for the questions.
        For a year now, the Quakehelpdesk has tracking evolving perceptions of earthquake victims on how effective the humanitarian response of both the government and the humanitarian sector has been for them. By tracking perceptions instead of looking at government/INGO figures (e.g. “x” amount of tents delivered etc) to determine how successful the humanitarian response has been, we have been able to track the earthquake response as seen by the by the victims themselves.
        Each month, teams of Quakehelpdesk Community Frontline Associates (CFAs) venture into devastated communities and conduct surveys with the inhabitants. Consisting of 10-15 questions, the surveys are randomly carried out (between elders/younger people, men/women, different castes) to ensure a wide cross section of data is gathered.
        This data is then collected centrally by both the Quakehelpdesk and the UN RCO’s office. The UN does much of the data analysis now and every month, they release a report based on what the data shows.
        For Follow the Money, data gathering is a much simpler process. Even prior to the earthquake, Local Interventions Group (the primary driver of Follow the Money in Nepal) has established strong relations with the government. Such relations have allowed us to access financial information related to the disaster process. We are in the process of expanding the data gathering process for Follow the Money at the central level as we recognise it is too dependent on having positive relations with officials. Team members will soon be trained on budgetary monitoring practices for example.
        In the 14 worst affected districts, teams known as CiDAT (Citizen led Disaster Accountability Task Force) will gather data from local governments. Additionally, CiDATs will physically visit sites earmarked for government projects (like schools, for example) and monitor the reconstruction effort to ensure it is meeting standards (good quality cement is used, foundations are deep, secure water sources).

        Technology we use

        The most common technology used by the Quake Helpdesk is mobile phones. Widely available and not affected by topographical challenges (e.g. extensive mountains/hills), mobile phones equipped with the Kobo toolbox platform are now used to carry out the surveys. The data is aggregated and provided for analysis to a team who also collects the duration of each survey along with the GPS coordinates of where the surveys were carried out to ensure data authenticity.
        For Follow the Money, mobile phones will also be the main technology used. CIDATs will be equipped with the Ushahidi platform on their mobile phones, allowing the CiDATs to take pictures and fill out reports while they are at the construction sites. This data will be relayed in real time to the central office in Kathmandu, where it will be analysed and provided to various government departments like the National Reconstruction Commission if irregularities are identified.
        Data will also be visualized on a virtual platform, allowing all stakeholders to track financial flows for themselves.
        Challenges faced
        The biggest challenges that has been faced by both projects is creating a “culture” for CGD where there was none. People are not used to contributing the sought data nor are they used to being a part of a larger monitoring mechanism.
        The lack of an organic culture of CGD means some people do not see the value of the data being generated while others do not trust the data’s quality. Other knock on effects include a dearth of technological skills to analyse/visualise the data and low involvement by both the private sector and government departments in CGD.

        Recommendations to others

        CGD is a new concept in places like Nepal and inevitably, it is seen with skepticism by both the public and authorities. Only with robust data can you begin to change this perception. It is therefore critical that the quality of the data is beyond question. Another recommendation would be a necessary trade-off that will have to be made at some stage between human resources and technology.
        In developing countries like Nepal where illiteracy is high, technology is not always the solution. People could be willing to provide data but are incapable of doing so. This means it is vital to train people to make up for this shortcoming. However, this presents its own challenges (e.g. high costs, faulty data) It seems the ideal scenario combines both approaches, where technology and human resources overcome each other’s main shortcomings.

    • #5502
      Profile photo of Jeff
      Jeff
      @jeffhall
      US

      Rob, I may be biased, but my opinion is that score cards offer us the “quickest win” for aggregation of social accountability processes, precisely for the reasons you mention above. Look forward to seeing how this plays out in practice with the groups that you currently serve. In particular, how will the central spine capture the slightly distinct models of score carding in a way that allows for comparability?

  • #5459
    Profile photo of Nora
    Nora
    @noralestermurad
    Palestine

    Regards to all. I am Nora Lester Murad, a volunteer with Aid Watch Palestine (www.aidwatch.ps), a civil society initiative to support Palestinians to hold aid accountable, starting with the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. We started out thinking we’d like to build Palestinian capacity to analyze aid data, but it turns out the data is so very flawed that we’re mostly trying to figure out ourselves what’s going on and get aid actors to be more transparent. Looking forward to learning.

  • #5460
    Profile photo of Gilbert
    Gilbert
    @gmusinguziudn-or-ug
    Uganda

    HI Members! My name is Gilbert Musinguzi, working with Uganda Debt Network.
    You have interesting information.
    I will soon share my experiences. Nice to here you. Krsitin Antin and Kimbowa nice your comments and ideas have some bearing on my work too. will share more. I am sure our paths in this small world have crossed before.

  • #5461
    Profile photo of William
    William
    @wt48
    US

    Participants in this e-forum clearly don’t have to be convinced about the added-value that Citizen Involvement can bring to helping communities become resilient. I was pleased to participate this morning in a demo for the new Global Disaster Preparedness Center that is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Visit their website at <http://preparecenter.org/content/get-started&gt;

    As we focus on DATA, ENGAGEMENT, and CONNECTION TO OFFICIAL DATA, the seven fundamental principles of the International Red Cross movement, are very important to conceptualize. [ Read more about them at <http://www.ifrc.org/who-we-are/vision-and-mission/the-seven-fundamental-principles/&gt;

    “The GDPC provides services in three main areas — Knowledge Management, Research and Technical Assistance — in order to build national and community level preparedness.” National Societies can provide training and ways to gain experience and build skills that can help citizen improve their communities.

  • #5470
    Profile photo of Kristin
    Kristin
    @kjantin
    United States

    Hi all! Thanks so much for posting all these great comments to the forum so far. Before we wrap this up on Thursday, I had a few more questions to ask everyone here:

    * What types of challenges have you faced in using CGD to monitor the SDGs and how have you overcome them? (e.g. engaging government officials, challenges with technology, issues analyzing the data, etc)
    * What resources and opportunities currently exist for practitioners who want to use citizen-generated data to monitor SDGs?

    I look forward to reading your comments this week!

    Thank you,
    Kristin

  • #5494
    Profile photo of Hayley
    Hayley
    @hayleycapp
    UK

    Hi all,

    Thank you for making this really important discussion possible.

    I am Hayley Capp based in London working for CARE International UK as the global Governance Policy Officer. CARE has a long standing history integrating participatory monitoring and social accountability approaches such as the Community Scorecard, first developed by CARE Malawi in 2002, throughout CARE’s global programming. We can therefore offer some insights into this discussion with regards to outcomes and lessons learnt from participatory monitoring and how participatory monitoring has the power to generate citizen data needed for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Please see linked below and attached for our report on this topic which will provide some interesting insights into: a) the positive outcomes of participatory monitoring in relation to improvements in service delivery and broader governance outcomes and b) draws on these lessons to propose a six-step model for participatory monitoring of the SDGs that will ensure that people living in developing countries can play a significant role in determining the success or failure of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

    Available here:
    http://insights.careinternational.org.uk/publications/the-power-of-participatory-monitoring-in-making-the-sustainable-development-goals-a-reality

    CARE believes that the ‘data revolution’ requires a change in the actors collecting the data and a change in the type of information collected. To this effect, we are spearheading the initiative ‘Everyone Counts’ in partnership with Kwantu and World Vision (and some other partners we are currently in the process of confirming) with the aim to ensure data used to monitor the SDGs includes marginalized communities’ voices. The partnership uses ICT to link existing citizen engagement projects to build aggregated data linked to specific SDG indicators. It is the first time a model for citizen-generated data, combining ICT and social accountability tools will have been designed and tested on the ground. The end goal is to build robust monitoring systems that can act as an alternative to government data on SDG progress. Such open-source, citizen-generated data will be a valuable accountability and advocacy tool for citizens globally.

    I am looking forward to learning more from you all here,

    Thank you,
    Hayley

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  • #5499
    Profile photo of Federico Ramírez
    admin
    @admin

    Hi, everyone and thank you all for your insightful participation so far.

    My name is Federico Ramírez, I work at Fundar, which is based in Mexico City. We enable local organizations to collect citizen generated data regarding human rights violations or human rights indicators.

    I would like to share and ask about a particular resource we are recently using with encouraging results: Open Data Kit. which is free software and has very low technical and financial barriers to enable data collection on mobile. I wonder who else uses it, and if they can share your experience with it.

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