Our work in Nepal
Development Initiatives (DI) works in Nepal to build an enabling environment for evidence-informed decision-making by addressing the barriers to data use.
At Development Initiatives (DI) we recognise and champion the transformative power of data, particularly in contexts where it has huge potential that is not currently being realised. With over six million people under the national poverty line, a high risk of natural disasters and significant exposure to climate change, Nepal has a lot to gain from enhanced use of data to inform policies, programmes and decisions. Currently, however, the use of data in government, civil society and the private sector is not widespread. The available data is often not in a format that enables analysis and re-use, and the capacities of development stakeholders to use data also need to improve.
Our work in Nepal helps national and local actors to overcome the challenges in data access, sharing and use,and it helps them to understand the impact that using data can have.
DI has worked in Nepal since 2011 to strengthen a functional, inclusive and locally-led data ecosystem. Our work is largely delivered via partnerships with local actors, and so we do not maintain a permanent office in Nepal. We have worked with over 30 partners in Nepal on data-related interventions through initiatives such as Open Nepal and the Data for Development (D4D) programme, which is funded by UK aid and delivered in partnership with The Asia Foundation. A list of partners with whom we have conducted work under the D4D programme can be seen here.
As part of the D4D programme, DI and The Asia Foundation have worked to:
- grow the demand for data through demonstrating its benefits, strengthening the open data community and researching data needs
- improve the supply of data through government dialogues on data policies, engaging with development partners and supporting data-sharing initiatives on topics ranging from earthquake damage and taxation to disability and health
- grow the use of data through developing data literacy materials, conducting data skills training, and supporting the use of data for tackling issues ranging from air quality to disaster response
- strengthen local and provincial data ecosystems through improving data knowledge and coordination among data producers, systems and processes.
Supporting local data innovation
We have supported local data innovation by running the Data for Development Innovation Fund, which enables Nepal’s innovators to pilot data-focused solutions to local development challenges. We’ve supported initiatives aimed at improving disability inclusion, agricultural planning, fiscal accountability, the accuracy of health targets and more. This has attracted local attention on open data as a tool for development, and recipients have built skills to work with data .
Growing data-use skills and open data literacy
To strengthen data capacities we have, in partnership with the Open Data Institute, trained civil society open data trainers and supported their delivery of training sessions with new audiences. With the Sunlight Foundation, we trained groups that run open data portals to grow their impact by designing for users. With YUWA, a youth-led organisation in Nepal, we supported training for young people across Nepal in data and youth leadership.
Improving availability of open data
To improve the availability of open data we supported Kathmandu Living Labs to release one of the largest post-disaster datasets ever collected. Socioeconomic, demographic and earthquake data from the 747,365 households covered by the National Housing and Reconstruction Survey is now openly shared. We also supported Open Knowledge Nepal to enable sharing of real-time data on issues ranging from air quality to vegetable pricing in usable formats that enable analysis.
Improving inclusion of women in Nepal’s data sector
To help tackle the under-representation of women in data-related fields in Nepal, in 2019 we co-hosted Nepal’s first Women in Data Conference. Hugely oversubscribed, the event brought together 300 women to learn about data and advance the inclusion of Nepali women in data. We also supported Open Knowledge Nepal to run an open data fellowship programme of internships, peer mentoring and educational opportunities to 10 young women.DI supports Nepal’s first Women in Data conference
Growing discourse on open data among businesses
Open data has huge potential benefits to businesses and the economy, but, until the work of the D4D programme, Nepal’s private sector had not engaged with this important agenda. We initiated discussions on open data among Nepal’s private sector and conducted workshops on the practical application of open data for businesses. We also supported our partner FACTS Nepal, a private independent research company in Nepal, to research business demand for open data and the challenges faced by businesses in using data.How can data support business in Nepal?
Developing sustainable data systems
We have supported various partners to develop sustainable data systems in partnership with the Nepal government. We supported Youth Innovation Lab to develop an integrated, user-centred national disaster information portal that shares data, analysis and visualisations to inform disaster preparedness and response. In May 2019, the Prime Minister of Nepal ordered the roll-out of this system, which was developed with input from a range of government departments, to provincial and local governments. We also supported partner Clean Up Nepal to collect data on waste collection routes and refuse dumping hotspots to inform the ongoing development of local waste management systems.Bipad national dashboard
We have grown the community of organisations who are sharing, using and advocating for open data through strategic guidance, technical assistance and funding support. Since 2011 we have supported the activities of this community to innovate with open data and drive improvements in Nepal’s open data landscape. This has included regular open data events such as high-level panel discussions, hackathons, data infographic competitions, open street mapathons and policy dialogues aimed at showcasing the benefits of open data and supporting the use of open data to solve local issues.
Enabling evidence-informed decision-making at the local level in Nepal
Read more about the Data for Development (D4D) programme, the impact it has had in Nepal and our priorities for the future.
Aid data needs and use cases in Nepal
There is growing demand in Nepal to improve how aid data is collected and shared, to support how SDGs are met and monitored.
Insights into Nepal’s emerging data revolution
This post presents DI's new background paper on Nepal’s emerging data revolution, detailing its context, development, current state and near future.