Five ways tech is crowdsourcing women’s empowerment

Zara Rahman in The Guardian: “Around the world, women’s rights advocates are crowdsourcing their own data rather than relying on institutional datasets.

Citizen-generated data is especially important for women’s rights issues. In many countries the lack of women in positions of institutional power, combined with slow, bureaucratic systems and a lack of prioritisation of women’s rights issues means data isn’t gathered on relevant topics, let alone appropriately responded to by the state.

Even when data is gathered by institutions, societal pressures may mean it remains inadequate. In the case of gender-based violence, for instance, women often suffer in silence, worrying nobody will believe them or that they will be blamed. Providing a way for women to contribute data anonymously or, if they so choose, with their own details, can be key to documenting violence and understanding the scale of a problem, and thus deciding upon appropriate responses.

Crowdsourcing data on street harassment in Egypt

Using open source platform Ushahidi, HarassMap provides women with a way to document incidences of street harassment. The project, which began in 2010, is raising awareness of how common street harassment is, giving women’s rights advocates a concrete way to highlight the scale of the problem….

Documenting experiences of reporting sexual harassment and violence to the police in India

Last year, The Ladies Finger, a women’s zine based in India, partnered with Amnesty International to support its Ready to Report campaign, which aimed to make it easier for survivors of sexual violence to file a police complaint. Using social media and through word of mouth, it asked the community if they had experiences to share about reporting sexual assault and harassment to the police. Using these crowdsourced leads, The Ladies Finger’s reporters spoke to people willing to share their experiences and put together a series of detailed contextualised stories. They included a piece that evoked a national outcry and spurred the Uttar Pradesh government to make an arrest for stalking, after six months of inaction….

Reporting sexual violence in Syria

Women Under Siege is a global project by Women’s Media Centre that is investigating how rape and sexual violence is used in conflicts. Its Syria project crowdsources data on sexual violence in the war-torn country. Like HarassMap, it uses the Ushahidi platform to geolocate where acts of sexual violence take place. Where possible, initial reports are contextualised with deeper media reports around the case in question….

Finding respectful gynaecologists in India

After recognising that many women in her personal networks were having bad experiences with gynaecologists in India, Delhi-based Amba Azaad began – with the help of her friends – putting together a list of gynaecologists who had treated patients respectfully called Gynaecologists We Trust. As the site says, “Finding doctors who are on our side is hard enough, and when it comes to something as intimate as our internal plumbing, it’s even more difficult.”…

Ending tech-related violence against women

In 2011, Take Back the Tech, an initiative from the Association for Progressive Communications, started a map gathering incidences of tech-related violence against women. Campaign coordinator Sara Baker says crowdsourcing data on this topic is particularly useful as “victims/survivors are often forced to tell their stories repeatedly in an attempt to access justice with little to no action taken on the part of authorities or intermediaries”. Rather than telling that story multiple times and seeing it go nowhere, their initiative gives people “the opportunity to make their experience visible (even if anonymously) and makes them feel like someone is listening and taking action”….(More)

Yahoo Releases the Largest-ever Machine Learning Dataset for Researchers

Suju Rajan at Yahoo Labs: “Data is the lifeblood of research in machine learning. However, access to truly large-scale datasets is a privilege that has been traditionally reserved for machine learning researchers and data scientists working at large companies – and out of reach for most academic researchers.

Research scientists at Yahoo Labs have long enjoyed working on large-scale machine learning problems inspired by consumer-facing products. This has enabled us to advance the thinking in areas such as search ranking, computational advertising, information retrieval, and core machine learning. A key aspect of interest to the external research community has been the application of new algorithms and methodologies to production traffic and to large-scale datasets gathered from real products.

Today, we are proud to announce the public release of the largest-ever machine learning dataset to the research community. The dataset stands at a massive ~110B events (13.5TB uncompressed) of anonymized user-news item interaction data, collected by recording the user-news item interactions of about 20M users from February 2015 to May 2015.

The Yahoo News Feed dataset is a collection based on a sample of anonymized user interactions on the news feeds of several Yahoo properties, including the Yahoo homepage, Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Movies, and Yahoo Real Estate.

Our goals are to promote independent research in the fields of large-scale machine learning and recommender systems, and to help level the playing field between industrial and academic research. The dataset is available as part of the Yahoo Labs Webscope data-sharing program, which is a reference library of scientifically-useful datasets comprising anonymized user data for non-commercial use.

In addition to the interaction data, we are providing categorized demographic information (age range, gender, and generalized geographic data) for a subset of the anonymized users. On the item side, we are releasing the title, summary, and key-phrases of the pertinent news article. The interaction data is timestamped with the relevant local time and also contains partial information about the device on which the user accessed the news feeds, which allows for interesting work in contextual recommendation and temporal data mining….(More)”

Finding the Missing Millions Can Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

 and Mariana Dahan in the Huffington Post: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, approved in September, takes a holistic approach to development and presents no less than 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In committing to the goals and associated targets, the international community has agreed to a more ambitious development compact — that of ending poverty, protecting the planet while “leaving no one behind”.

Despite this ambition, we may not know who precisely is being left out of our development programs or how to more effectively target our intended beneficiaries.

A staggering 2.4 billion people today lack any form of recognized identity (ID), including some 625 million children, aged 0-14 years, whose births have never been registered with a civil authority. Only 19 out of 198 economies provide a unique ID at birth and use this consistently in civil identification and public services.

The Center for Global Development recently organized an event titled “Identity and the SDGs: How Finding the Missing Millions Can Help Achieve Development Goals”. While intending to speak about SDG target 16.9 on legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030, it became obvious that the importance of robust identification goes beyond its intrinsic value: it also enables the achievement of many other SDGs, such as financial inclusion, reduced corruption, gender equality, access to health services and appropriate social protection schemes.

Global initiatives, such as the World Bank Group’s Identification for Development (ID4D) agenda, a cross-institutional and multi-sectoral effort, aim to “make everyone count.” They will build new alliances and reshape existing development strategies in the areas of identification and civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). On the latter, the World Bank, with a number of partners – including UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and several bilateral donors — is launching the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child, which includes financing aimed at strengthening and expanding ID platforms of CRVS systems….

Finally, the international community should establish the right monitoring mechanisms and indicators to measure whether we are on track to achieving the SDGs. This target for universal identity will be especially critical as a means of monitoring and achieving the SDGs as a whole. As the saying goes, what is not counted doesn’t count and what is not measured cannot be managed and thus measuring progress towards global targets is a fundamental component of meeting the ambitious goals we have set….(More)”

Biases in collective platforms: Wikipedia, GitHub and crowdmapping

Stefana Broadbent at Nesta: “Many of the collaboratively developed knowledge platforms we discussed at our recent conference, At The Roots of Collective Intelligence, suffer from a well-known “contributors’ bias”.

More than 85% of Wikipedia’s entries have been written by men 

OpenStack, as with most other Open Source projects, has seen the emergence of a small group of developers who author the majority of the projects. In fact 80% of the commits have been authored by slightly less than 8% of the authors, while 90% of the commits correspond to about 17% of all the authors.

GitHub’s Be Social function allows users to “follow” other participants and receive notification of their activity. The most popular contributors tend therefore to attract other users to the projects they are working on. And Open Street Map has 1.2 million registered users, but less than 15% of them have produced the majority of the 13 million elements of information.

Research by Quattrone, Capra, De Meo (2015) showed that while the content mapped was not different between active and occasional mappers, the social composition of the power users led to a geographical bias, with less affluent areas remaining unmapped more frequently than urban centres.

These well-known biases in crowdsourcing information, also known as the ‘power users’ effect, were discussed by Professor Licia Capra from the Department of Engineering at UCL. Watch the video of her talk here.

In essence, despite the fact that crowd-sourcing platforms are inclusive and open to anyone willing to dedicate the time and effort, there is a process of self-selection. Different factors can explain why there are certain gender and socio economic groups that are drawn to specific activities, but it is clear that there is a progressive reduction of the diversity of contributors over time.

The effect is more extreme where there is the need for continuous contributions. As the Humanitarian Open StreetMap Team project data showed, humanitarian crises attract many users who contribute intensely for a short time, but only very few participants contribute regularly for a long time. Only a small proportion of power users continue editing or adding code for sustained periods. This effect begs two important questions: does the editing job of the active few skew the information made available, and what can be done to avoid this type of concentration?….

The issue of how to attract more volunteers and editors is more complex and is a constant challenge for any crowdsourcing platform. We can look back at when Wikipedia started losing contributors, which coincided with a period of tighter restrictions to the editing process. This suggests that alongside designing the interface in a way to make contributions easy to be created and shared, it is also necessary to design practices and social norms that are immediately and continuously inclusive. – (More)”


Peer review in 2015: A global view

A white paper by Taylor & Francis: “Within the academic community, peer review is widely recognized as being at the heart of scholarly research. However, faith in peer review’s integrity is of ongoing and increasing concern to many. It is imperative that publishers (and academic editors) of peer-reviewed scholarly research learn from each other, working together to improve practices in areas such as ethical issues, training, and data transparency….Key findings:

  • Authors, editors and reviewers all agreed that the most important motivation to publish in peer reviewed journals is making a contribution to the field and sharing research with others.
  • Playing a part in the academic process and improving papers are the most important motivations for reviewers. Similarly, 90% of SAS study respondents said that playing a role in the academic community was a motivation to review.
  • Most researchers, across the humanities and social sciences (HSS) and science, technology and medicine (STM), rate the benefit of the peer review process towards improving their article as 8 or above out of 10. This was found to be the most important aspect of peer review in both the ideal and the real world, echoing the earlier large-scale peer review studies.
  • In an ideal world, there is agreement that peer review should detect plagiarism (with mean ratings of 7.1 for HSS and 7.5 for STM out of 10), but agreement that peer review is currently achieving this in the real world is only 5.7 HSS / 6.3 STM out of 10.
  • Researchers thought there was a low prevalence of gender bias but higher prevalence of regional and seniority bias – and suggest that double blind peer review is most capable of preventing reviewer discrimination where it is based on an author’s identity.
  • Most researchers wait between one and six months for an article they’ve written to undergo peer review, yet authors (not reviewers / editors) think up to two months is reasonable .
  • HSS authors say they are kept less well informed than STM authors about the progress of their article through peer review….(More)”

Statactivism: Forms of Action between Disclosure and Affirmation

Paper by Bruno Isabelle, Didier Emmanuel and Vitale Tommaso: “This article introduces the special issue on statactivism, a particular form of action within the repertoire used by contemporary social movements: the mobilization of statistics. Traditionally, statistics has been used by the worker movement within the class conflicts. But in the current configuration of state restructuring, new accumulation regimes, and changes in work organization in capitalists societies, the activist use of statistics is moving. This first article seeks to show the use of statistics and quantification in contentious performances connected with state restructuring, main transformations of the varieties of capitalisms, and changes in work organization regimes. The double role of statistics in representing as well as criticizing reality is considered. After showing how important statistical tools are in producing a shared reading of reality, we will discuss the two main dimensions of statactivism – disclosure and affirmation. In other words, we will see the role of stat-activists in denouncing a certain state of reality, and then the efforts to use statistics in creating equivalency among disparate conditions and in cementing emerging social categories. Finally, we present the main contributions of the various research papers in this special issue regarding the use of statistics as a form of action within a larger repertoire of contentious action. Six empirical papers focus on statactivism against the penal machinery in the early 1970s (Grégory Salle), on the mobilisation on the price index in Guadalupe in 2009 (Boris Samuel), and in Argentina in 2007 (Celia Lury and Ana Gross), on the mobilisations of experts to consolidate a link between working conditions and health issues (Marion Gilles), on the production of activity data for disability policy in France (Pierre-Yves Baudot), and on the use of statistics in social mobilizations for gender equality (Eugenia De Rosa). Alain Desrosières wrote the last paper, coping with mobilizations proposing innovations in the way of measuring inflation, unemployment, poverty, GDP, and climate change. This special issue is dedicated to him, in order to honor his everlasting intellectual legacy….(More)”


Can non-Western democracy help to foster political transformation?

Richard Youngs at Open Democracy: “…many non-Western countries are showing signs of a newly-vibrant civic politics, organized in ways that are not centered on NGOs but on more loosely structured social movements in participatory forms of democracy where active citizenship is crucial—not just structured or formal, representative democratic institutions. Bolivia is a good example.

Many Western governments were skeptical about President Evo Morales’ political project, fearing that he would prove to be just as authoritarian as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. But some Western donors (including Germany and the European Union) have already increased their support to indigenous social movements in Bolivia because they’ve become a vital channel of influence and accountability between government and society.

Secondly, it’s clear that the political dimensions of democracy will be undermined if economic conditions and inequalities are getting worse, so democracy promotion efforts need to be delinked from pressures to adopt neo-liberal economic policies. Western interests need to do more to prove that they are not supporting democracy primarily as a means to further their economic interest in ‘free markets.’ That’s why the European Union is supporting a growing number of projects designed to build up social insurance schemes during the early phases of democratic transitions. European diplomats, at least, say that they see themselves as supporters of social and economic democracy.

Donors are becoming more willing to support the role of labor unions in pro-democracy coalition-building; and to protect labor standards as a crucial part of political transitions in countries as diverse as Tunisia, Georgia, China, Egypt and Ecuador. But they should do more to assess how the embedded structures of economic power can undermine the quality of democratic processes. Support for civil society organizations that are keen on exploring heterodox economic models should also be stepped up.

Thirdly, non-Western structures and traditions can help to reduce violent conflict successfully. Tribal chiefs, traditional decision-making circles and customary dispute resolution mechanisms are commonplace in Africa and Asia, and have much to teach their counterparts in the West. In Afghanistan, for example, international organizations realized that the standard institutions of Western liberal democracy were gaining little traction, and were probably deepening rather than healing pre-existing divisions, so they’ve started to support local-level deliberative forums instead.

Something similar is happening in the Balkans, where the United States and the European Union are giving priority to locally tailored, consensual power-sharing arrangements. The United Nations is working with customary justice systems in Somalia. And in South Sudan and Kenya, donors have worked with tribal chiefs and supported traditional authorities to promote a better understanding of human rights and gender justice issues. These forms of power-sharing and ‘consensual communitarianism’ can be quite effective in protecting minorities while also encouraging dialogue and deliberation.

As these brief examples show, different countries can both offer and receive ideas about democratic transformation regardless of geography, though this is never straightforward. It involves finding a balance between defending genuinely-universal norms on the one hand, and encouraging democratic experimentation on the other. This is a thin line to walk, and it requires, for example, recognition that the basic precepts of liberal democracy are not synonymous with what can be seen as an amoral individualism, particularly in highly religious communities.

Pro-democracy reformers and civic groups in non-Western countries often take international organizations to task for pushing too hard on questions of ‘Western liberal rights’ rather than supporting variations to the standard, individualist template, even where tribal structures and traditional conflict-resolution mechanisms work reasonably well. This has led to resistance against international support in places as diverse as Libya, Mali and Pakistan…..

Academic critical theorists argue that Western democracy promoters fail to take alternative models of democracy on board because they would endanger their own geostrategic and economic interests….(More)”

Web design plays a role in how much we reveal online

European Commission: “A JRC study, “Nudges to Privacy Behaviour: Exploring an Alternative Approach to Privacy Notices“, used behavioural sciences to look at how individuals react to different types of privacy notices. Specifically, the authors analysed users’ reactions to modified choice architecture (i.e. the environment in which decisions take place) of web interfaces.

Two types of privacy behaviour were measured: passive disclosure, when people unwittingly disclose personal information, and direct disclosure, when people make an active choice to reveal personal information. After testing different designs with over 3 000 users from the UK, Italy, Germany and Poland, results show web interface affects decisions on disclosing personal information. The study also explored differences related to country of origin, gender, education level and age.

A depiction of a person’s face on the website led people to reveal more personal information. Also, this design choice and the visualisation of the user’s IP or browsing history had an impact on people’s awareness of a privacy notice. If confirmed, these features are particularly relevant for habitual and instinctive online behaviour.

With regard to education, users who had attended (though not necessarily graduated from) college felt significantly less observed or monitored and more comfortable answering questions than those who never went to college. This result challenges the assumption that the better educated are more aware of information tracking practices. Further investigation, perhaps of a qualitative nature, could help dig deeper into this issue. On the other hand, people with a lower level of education were more likely to reveal personal information unwittingly. This behaviour appeared to be due to the fact that non-college attendees were simply less aware that some online behaviour revealed personal information about themselves.

Strong differences between countries were noticed, indicating a relation between cultures and information disclosure. Even though participants in Italy revealed the most personal information in passive disclosure, in direct disclosure they revealed less than in other countries. Approximately 75% of participants in Italy chose to answer positively to at least one stigmatised question, compared to 81% in Poland, 83% in Germany and 92% in the UK.

Approximately 73% of women answered ‘never’ to the questions asking whether they had ever engaged in socially stigmatised behaviour, compared to 27% of males. This large difference could be due to the nature of the questions (e.g. about alcohol consumption, which might be more acceptable for males). It could also suggest women feel under greater social scrutiny or are simply more cautious when disclosing personal information.

These results could offer valuable insights to inform European policy decisions, despite the fact that the study has targeted a sample of users in four countries in an experimental setting. Major web service providers are likely to have extensive amounts of data on how slight changes to their services’ privacy controls affect users’ privacy behaviour. The authors of the study suggest that collaboration between web providers and policy-makers can lead to recommendations for web interface design that allow for conscientious disclosure of privacy information….(More)”

Five principles for applying data science for social good

Jake Porway at O’Reilly: “….Every week, a data or technology company declares that it wants to “do good” and there are countless workshops hosted by major foundations musing on what “big data can do for society.” Add to that a growing number of data-for-good programs from Data Science for Social Good’s fantastic summer program toBayes Impact’s data science fellowships to DrivenData’s data-science-for-good competitions, and you can see how quickly this idea of “data for good” is growing.

Yes, it’s an exciting time to be exploring the ways new datasets, new techniques, and new scientists could be deployed to “make the world a better place.” We’ve already seen deep learning applied to ocean health,satellite imagery used to estimate poverty levels, and cellphone data used to elucidate Nairobi’s hidden public transportation routes. And yet, for all this excitement about the potential of this “data for good movement,” we are still desperately far from creating lasting impact. Many efforts will not only fall short of lasting impact — they will make no change at all….

So how can these well-intentioned efforts reach their full potential for real impact? Embracing the following five principles can drastically accelerate a world in which we truly use data to serve humanity.

1. “Statistics” is so much more than “percentages”

We must convey what constitutes data, what it can be used for, and why it’s valuable.

There was a packed house for the March 2015 release of the No Ceilings Full Participation Report. Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates, and Chelsea Clinton stood on stage and lauded the report, the culmination of a year-long effort to aggregate and analyze new and existing global data, as the biggest, most comprehensive data collection effort about women and gender ever attempted. One of the most trumpeted parts of the effort was the release of the data in an open and easily accessible way.

I ran home and excitedly pulled up the data from the No Ceilings GitHub, giddy to use it for our DataKind projects. As I downloaded each file, my heart sunk. The 6MB size of the entire global dataset told me what I would find inside before I even opened the first file. Like a familiar ache, the first row of the spreadsheet said it all: “USA, 2009, 84.4%.”

What I’d encountered was a common situation when it comes to data in the social sector: the prevalence of inert, aggregate data. ….

2. Finding problems can be harder than finding solutions

We must scale the process of problem discovery through deeper collaboration between the problem holders, the data holders, and the skills holders.

In the immortal words of Henry Ford, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Right now, the field of data science is in a similar position. Framing data solutions for organizations that don’t realize how much is now possible can be a frustrating search for faster horses. If data cleaning is 80% of the hard work in data science, then problem discovery makes up nearly the remaining 20% when doing data science for good.

The plague here is one of education. …

3. Communication is more important than technology

We must foster environments in which people can speak openly, honestly, and without judgment. We must be constantly curious about each other.

At the conclusion of one of our recent DataKind events, one of our partner nonprofit organizations lined up to hear the results from their volunteer team of data scientists. Everyone was all smiles — the nonprofit leaders had loved the project experience, the data scientists were excited with their results. The presentations began. “We used Amazon RedShift to store the data, which allowed us to quickly build a multinomial regression. The p-value of 0.002 shows …” Eyes glazed over. The nonprofit leaders furrowed their brows in telegraphed concentration. The jargon was standing in the way of understanding the true utility of the project’s findings. It was clear that, like so many other well-intentioned efforts, the project was at risk of gathering dust on a shelf if the team of volunteers couldn’t help the organization understand what they had learned and how it could be integrated into the organization’s ongoing work…..

4. We need diverse viewpoints

To tackle sector-wide challenges, we need a range of voices involved.

One of the most challenging aspects to making change at the sector level is the range of diverse viewpoints necessary to understand a problem in its entirety. In the business world, profit, revenue, or output can be valid metrics of success. Rarely, if ever, are metrics for social change so cleanly defined….

Challenging this paradigm requires diverse, or “collective impact,” approaches to problem solving. The idea has been around for a while (h/t Chris Diehl), but has not yet been widely implemented due to the challenges in successful collective impact. Moreover, while there are many diverse collectives committed to social change, few have the voice of expert data scientists involved. DataKind is piloting a collective impact model called DataKind Labs, that seeks to bring together diverse problem holders, data holders, and data science experts to co-create solutions that can be applied across an entire sector-wide challenge. We just launchedour first project with Microsoft to increase traffic safety and are hopeful that this effort will demonstrate how vital a role data science can play in a collective impact approach.

5. We must design for people

Data is not truth, and tech is not an answer in-and-of-itself. Without designing for the humans on the other end, our work is in vain.

So many of the data projects making headlines — a new app for finding public services, a new probabilistic model for predicting weather patterns for subsistence farmers, a visualization of government spending — are great and interesting accomplishments, but don’t seem to have an end user in mind. The current approach appears to be “get the tech geeks to hack on this problem, and we’ll have cool new solutions!” I’ve opined that, though there are many benefits to hackathons, you can’t just hack your way to social change….(More)”

Harnessing the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

US State Department Fact Sheet on “U.S. Government Commitments and Collaboration with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data”: “On September 27, 2015, the member states of the United Nations agreed to a set of Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) that define a common agenda to achieve inclusive growth, end poverty, and protect the environment by 2030. The Global Goals build on tremendous development gains made over the past decade, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and set actionable steps with measureable indicators to drive progress. The availability and use of high quality data is essential to measuring and achieving the Global Goals. By harnessing the power of technology, mobilizing new and open data sources, and partnering across sectors, we will achieve these goals faster and make their progress more transparent.

Harnessing the data revolution is a critical enabler of the global goals—not only to monitor progress, but also to inclusively engage stakeholders at all levels – local, regional, national, global—to advance evidence-based policies and programs to reach those who need it most. Data can show us where girls are at greatest risk of violence so we can better prevent it; where forests are being destroyed in real-time so we can protect them; and where HIV/AIDS is enduring so we can focus our efforts and finish the fight. Data can catalyze private investment; build modern and inclusive economies; and support transparent and effective investment of resources for social good…..

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (Global Data Partnership), launched on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, is mobilizing a range of data producers and users—including governments, companies, civil society, data scientists, and international organizations—to harness the data revolution to achieve and measure the Global Goals. Working together, signatories to the Global Data Partnership will address the barriers to accessing and using development data, delivering outcomes that no single stakeholder can achieve working alone….The United States, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is joining a consortium of funders to seed this initiative. The U.S. Government has many initiatives that are harnessing the data revolution for impact domestically and internationally. Highlights of our international efforts are found below:

Health and Gender

Country Data Collaboratives for Local Impact – PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) are partnering to invest $21.8 million in Country Data Collaboratives for Local Impact in sub-Saharan Africa that will use data on HIV/AIDS, global health, gender equality, and economic growth to improve programs and policies. Initially, the Country Data Collaboratives will align with and support the objectives of DREAMS, a PEPFAR, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Girl Effect partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in high-burden areas.

Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health (MA4Health) Collaborative – USAID is partnering with the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and over 20 other agencies, countries, and civil society organizations to establish the MA4Health Collaborative, a multi-stakeholder partnership focused on reducing fragmentation and better aligning support to country health-system performance and accountability. The Collaborative will provide a vehicle to strengthen country-led health information platforms and accountability systems by improving data and increasing capacity for better decision-making; facilitating greater technical collaboration and joint investments; and developing international standards and tools for better information and accountability. In September 2015, partners agreed to a set of common strategic and operational principles, including a strong focus on 3–4 pathfinder countries where all partners will initially come together to support country-led monitoring and accountability platforms. Global actions will focus on promoting open data, establishing common norms and standards, and monitoring progress on data and accountability for the Global Goals. A more detailed operational plan will be developed through the end of the year, and implementation will start on January 1, 2016.

Data2X: Closing the Gender GapData2X is a platform for partners to work together to identify innovative sources of data, including “big data,” that can provide an evidence base to guide development policy and investment on gender data. As part of its commitment to Data2X—an initiative of the United Nations Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Clinton Foundation, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are working with partners to sponsor an open data challenge to incentivize the use of gender data to improve gender policy and practice….(More)”

See also: Data matters: the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Speech by UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening at the launch of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.