Data use

Our work on improving data use for sustainable development is about breaking down barriers to data use, improving data availability and usability, and helping people use data effectively in order to drive efforts to end poverty and build resilience

The issue: harnessing the data revolution to deliver real change

We believe that for decision-makers and advocates to better understand poverty and the resources available to address it, they need better data.

Over the last decade, the importance of transparency and access to data to improve effective decision-making and accountability has been widely recognised. DI has been a key part of that movement through our work on the International Aid Transparency Initiative, among other projects. The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development has helped focus attention on the need for better data and its use in development decision-making and accountability.

We now need to harness this movement to ensure it reaches its full potential in its contributions to the goal of ending poverty. The daily reality for decision makers – and anyone holding them to account – continues to be that the information and data required is often unavailable, inaccessible or difficult to use. Data on poverty and resources needs to substantially increase and improve, and the use of this high-quality data must become an ingrained part of institutional practice inside and outside government. We are now at a pivotal moment in the Sustainable Development Goal era, and the progress of data publishing over the last decade needs to translate into greater use to drive improvements on the ground.

Our role: improving the use of data  

Data use in development is a large and complex area and there is a big movement of people from the local to the international level playing a role. Our focus is on how decision-making and accountability can be improved by facilitating the publishing of quality data and addressing the barriers to using it.

Our work seeks to:

  • Improve the understanding of information needs and empower key partners to access and use data themselves.
  • Encourage efforts by governments, international organisations, civil society organisations and donors to address barriers to data use – increasing data availability, accessibility, comparability and interoperability.
  • Contribute to and help shape the key processes that aim to realise the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development locally and internationally.

To achieve this:

We work to strengthen access to, and use of, data by selected government and non-government actors who are implementing poverty reduction and development interventions in key sectors.

We document and communicate data and information needs, current use and barriers to use in the key processes relating to poverty eradication faced by decision-makers and those holding them to account.

We provide actionable information, based on the best available data, to decision-makers and advocates for use in national and international efforts to end poverty.

We offer practical support to data users inside and outside government based on our core areas of expertise. These range from good data-use practices to advice and building capacity on data access and validity, data analysis and data/information architecture.

We engage actively in policy processes at national and international levels, to advance approaches to address  data and information needs on the ground, and to contribute to collaboration across inclusive data communities.

We collaborate with partners and initiatives who share our aims to maximise our impact on improving data use and making its benefits a reality.

Read more about our work on data use in our organisational strategy 

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