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News — 08 April, 2018

The Inaugral Data for Development Festival

From the 21st to 23rd March 2018 I was fortunate to attend and speak at the Data for Development Festival, the inaugural in-person gathering of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s partner network which took place in Bristol, UK. The conference aimed to drive action and foster strong links within the global data community ahead of the 73rd UN General Assembly in September, the World Data Forum in October, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) milestone.

HOT and Missing Maps Team at the Data for Development FestivalHOT and Missing Maps Team at the Data for Development Festival

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) is a global network bringing together governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations dedicated to using the data revolution to achieve the SDGs. The Partnership drives action at the local, national, and global level to ensure the new opportunities of the data revolution are used to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 300 partners are joining forces to take action, galvanize political commitment, build trust, and spur innovation in the booming data ecosystems of the 21st century.

During the 3 day conference I was able to share about our work with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in Uganda where we are engaging refugees and community members in Northern Uganda to map services and facilities in the refugee settlements using OpenStreetMap, the free editable map of the world.

On day 1 of the conference I participated in a session about Community Led Monitoring, where we explored the role of communities in collecting and using data to monitor development organizations and society, examining how data can be turned into local impact and change.

On day two of the conference, we had a very interesting session brainstorming about the challenges and opportunities around working with Citizen Generated Data one of the largest, untapped, innovative solutions to the sustainable development data gap.

The data festival, also saw the launch of MY DATA - Mobilizing Youth on Data for Action and Transition in Africa - an emerging network and community of practice that brings together organizations and initiatives working to directly engage and mobilize youth in data generation, advocacy, and leadership to advance sustainable development goals. During the launch I was able to share about our work with YouthMappers in Uganda and all over Africa.

We also made a trip to the ONS (Office of National Statistics) Data Science Campus in Newport, South Wales who are using Data Science for social good. We explored how sources such as administrative data & social data, and techniques such as machine learning and natural language processing, are used to understand the UK’s economy, communities & people.

In a nutshell, the festival was all about making the invisible visible using data, and it was great to hear from the large number of important actors and organisations in the global data ecosystem, many of whom talked about the importance community generated data in realising the Sustainable Development Goals.