Data for Children Collaborative Designs Responsible Data Solutions for Cross-Sector Services

Impact story by “That is the question that the Collaborative set out to answer: how do we define and support strong data ethics in a way that ensures it is no longer an afterthought? How do we empower organizations to make it their priority?…

Fassio, Data for Children Collaborative Director Alex Hutchison, and the rest of their five-person team set out to create a roadmap for data responsibility. They started with their own experiences and followed the lifecycle of a non-profit project from conception to communicating results.

The journey begins – for project leaders and for the Collaborative – with an ethical assessment before any research or intervention has been conducted. The assessment calls on project teams to reflect on their motivations and ethical issues at the start, midpoint, and results stages of a project, ensuring that the priority stakeholder remains at the center. Some of the elements are directly tied to data, like data collection, security, and anonymization, but the assessment goes beyond the hard data and into its applications and analysis, including understanding stakeholder landscape and even the appropriate language to use when communicating outputs.

For the Collaborative, that priority is children. But they’ve designed the assessment, which maps across to UNICEF’s Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) toolkit, and other responsible innovation resources to be adaptable for other sectors.

“We wanted to make it really accessible for people with no background in ethics or data. We wanted anyone to be able to approach it,” Fassio said. “Because it is data-focused, there’s actually a very wide application. A lot of the questions we ask are very transferable to other groups.”

The same is true for their youth participation workbook – another resource in the toolkit. The team engaged young people to help co-create the process, staying open to revisions and iterations based on people’s experiences and feedback….(More)”