Data sharing between humanitarian organisations and donors

Report by Larissa Fast: “This report investigates issues related to data sharing between humanitarian actors and donors, with a focus on two key questions:

  • What formal or informal frameworks govern the collection and sharing of disaggregated humanitarian data between humanitarian actors and donors?
  • How are these frameworks and the related requirements understood or perceived by humanitarian actors and donors?

Drawing on interviews with donors and humanitarians about data sharing practices and examination of formal documents, the research finds that, overall and perhaps most importantly, references to ‘data’ in the context of humanitarian operations are usually generic and lack a consistent definition or even a shared terminology. Complex regulatory frameworks, variability among donor expectations, both among and within donor governments (e.g., at the country or field/headquarters levels), and among humanitarian experiences of data sharing all complicate the nature and handling of data sharing requests. Both the lack of data literacy and the differing perceptions of operational data management risks exacerbate many issues related to data sharing and create inconsistent practice (see full summary of findings in Table 3).

More specifically, while much formal documentation about data sharing between humanitarians and donors is available in the public domain, few contain explicit policies or clauses on data sharing, instead referring only to financial or compliance data and programme reporting requirements. Additionally, the justifications for sharing disaggregated humanitarian data are framed most often in terms of accountability, compliance, efficiency, and programme design. Most requests for data are linked to monitoring and compliance, as well as requests for data as ‘assurances’. Even so, donors indicated that although they request detailed/disaggregated data, they may not have the time, or human and/or technical capacity to deal with it properly. In general, donor interviewees insisted that no record level data is shared within their governments, but only aggregated or in low or no sensitivity formats….(More)”.