Consultative workshop: Strengthening Subnational Data Value Chains in Uganda
This consultative workshop brought together key stakeholders to discuss a joint DI–APHRC initiative to improve local governments’ capacity to effectively collect and process data.
- 5 May 2022
- This event was held in Kampala, Uganda
At the beginning of May, DI organised a national consultative workshop in Kampala to launch a new initiative: Strengthening Subnational Data Value Chains in Uganda. Working in partnership with the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) over the next three years, the project aims to:
- Improve local governments’ effectiveness and accountability through better use of joined-up data;
- Create a virtuous circle between data supply and use at the point of delivery to support the planning, management, and monitoring of services;
- Ensure that data can be presented in meaningful ways to facilitate more effective usage by government and citizens alike;
- Generate feedback on the use of data to improve data supply.
The initiative will be trialled in two districts: Masindi in the mid-west and Kayunga in central Uganda.
At the workshop, the keynote address was given by Dr Hatwib Mugasa, Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U). He expressed concern regarding the multiplicity of data systems being implemented in the country by MDAs, donors, and NGOs, and the sensitivity surrounding the rationalisation of systems due to the different power centres and entrenched interests involved. NITA-U is making significant progress convincing many MDAs to take a more joined-up approach with its launch of UGHUB, the Government Data Integration Platform. NITA-U’s oversight of data infrastructures will play a critical guiding role in the development of DI’s project.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) was represented at the workshop by four senior technical staff. They presented several initiatives that have been put in place to support local administrations in producing, managing and sharing data effectively. The bureau is supporting all districts to develop a Local Government Strategic Plan for Statistics (LGSPS). This will provide a framework for strengthening the production and use of statistics for evidence-based decision-making, planning and management at the local level.
Representatives from the two pilot districts also played an active role in the workshop, highlighting the challenges that they currently face. “We have staff with inadequate data management skills and literacy to handle data from collection and analysis through to reporting”, explained Milly Namuyombi, District Planning Officer for Masindi District. “Data is usually stored in hard copies because we have no digital tools which isn’t an effective way of managing information in the digital era.”
These views were echoed by Hajarah Nanyanzi, the District Planner for Kayunga. “There are many data inconsistencies due to multiple centres of data production which have an impact on planning and budgeting and hence an implication on decision-making. This project should help us find ways to harmonise our data so that all stakeholders get the same timely information.”
Other attendees at the workshop included senior statisticians from the key data-producing ministries of health, education, water, local government, and social affairs, as well as representatives from major think tanks and CSOs. A lively discussion ensued on the challenges and opportunities facing the Ugandan data ecosystem.
APHRC Data Science and Evaluation Programme Lead, Dr Damazo Kadengye, responded enthusiastically to the audience’s diagnosis of the key challenges. He presented an overview of the project which is also being implemented in Niger, Senegal, and Burkina Faso; arguing that strong data systems form the backbone of effective, data-driven policymaking at all levels of government. “They are key enablers to designing, implementing, and monitoring policy more effectively and efficiently”, he said. “There is a need to accelerate progress by sustainably creating the conditions that allow for data-driven governance to satisfy the demand and supply needs in the data ecosystem – both at the sub-national and national levels.”
Stephen Chacha, Director of DI’s East Africa Hub, closed the workshop with a pledge: "Our 2030 strategy focuses on strengthening data ecosystems; creating a culture of data use; and partnering for impact. We are excited at what we are going to achieve together with all of you under this project.”