2018 was a productive and busy year at Open Data Watch. We launched reports, created new partnerships while strengthening old ones, traveled the world as a champion for open data and gender data. Before we forge ahead into 2019, we would like to pause and share our highlights from last year.
Most recently, we launched a joint report on Measuring Data Use, contributing to the conversation around how to ensure that data production results in data use. The launch was the culmination of a year-long project with AidData and PARIS21, that also involved the launch of the Counting on Statistics report. This project aimed to better understand how data users are accessing official statistics through national statistical office websites, contributing to the conversations around closing the gaps between data production and use.
In addition to publishing the ODIN 2017 Annual Report early in the year, as part of our 2018-19 round of ODIN assessments, we added 11 assessors to our team and made a number of updates and improvements to the assessment process. Such improvements include refining our methodology based on country feedback, updating our assessor handbook, and directly connecting ODIN indicators to SDG indicators. We also strengthened our direct engagement with countries as a record number of 96 countries expressed interest in participating in the NSO review process including 67 countries actively participating. Throughout the year, we also received invitations from countries such as Oman to travel and offer in-country trainings and workshops to help them identify ways to improve the openness of their official statistics. Even when up to our elbows in the ODIN research process, we always keep the countries first and foremost in our minds and actions.
Gender data was also at the forefront of our work this year. Alongside our partners at Data2X, we have taken on a new project on mapping gender data gaps within the Sustainable Development Goals. The project is not limited to identifying gaps; the aim is to provide specific solutions for filling them. This work will be released in early 2019. Alongside this new research, we launched a public call for Gender Data Impact stories to help make the case for increased investments. We also contributed to the discourse on the importance of gender data at the 20th International Conference of Labor Statisticians in Geneva, Switzerland and the United Nations Gender Statistics Forum in Tokyo. Furthermore, we began a new partnership with the Centre of Excellence at the International Development Research Centre that explores the relationship between gender equality and civil registration and vital statistics. Throughout 2019, we will launch a series of knowledge briefs covering different dimensions of the topic. There is certainly much more ahead for our gender data work in 2019.
|Shaida Badiee, Managing Director, speaks on a panel at the UN Word Data Forum.|
|Eric Swanson, Director of Research, presents at the International Open Data Conference (IODC).|
But nothing can be accomplished without strong partnerships. Work on key topics such as data use, gender data, and open data is accelerating and becoming more prominent in organizations’ work programs around the world, and as such, opportunities to contribute to and benefit from conversations with diverse stakeholders have increased. We participated in these discussions at conferences around the world with partners such as the 49th session of the UN Statistics Commission, the Bristol Data Festival, the Centre for Excellence’s Making the Invisible Visible: CRVS as a Basis for Meeting the 2030 Gender Agenda, the International Open Data Conference, and the UN World Data Forum. Alongside meeting in person, we meet virtually with partners through the various working groups we participate in. The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s More and Better Financing for Data initiative and Interoperability Data Collaborative as well as the subgroup on open data within the United Nations Friends of Chair Group on the Fundamental Principals of Official Statistics are a few very important ones. The connections and collaborations between diverse stakeholders that emerged from these conferences and working groups are crucial to the innovation and growth needed in international development.
Throughout the year we also explored new communication territory by launching a webinar series with PARIS21 and CEPEI. Since November we have hosted two webinars as a part of the Beyond the Numbers: Harnessing Data for the SDGs series. Three more are scheduled for 2019 covering topics such as gender data, financing and funding, and non-traditional data sources.
|Our intern, Grace Desouza from the Q-Step program, and Deirdre Appel, Program Manager, participate at the RSS International Conference.|
Behind the scenes, we had an exciting time hosting summer interns from all over the world. We were delighted to host Grace Desouza from the Q-Step program at Manchester University, Iman Benhassine from University College London, Farida Makame from the DCLI Professional Practicum and Elettra Baldi from George Washington University, who returned to working with us for a second year as part of a shared internship with Open Data Watch and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Not only do our interns receive opportunities to learn about development and gender data, but also contribute directly to our work and have opportunities to make professional connections for the future.
To better share information on all this work in a timely way, we carried out a re-design of our website, both updating the look and feel of it and making it easier to find the information that visitors care about most.
These achievements have us excited as we look ahead and plan for all that we might achieve in the coming year. A few of our resolutions include:
- Champion closing gaps along the data value chain: in particular, gaps in capacity, financing, and use of data
- Identify and promote solutions to filling gender data gaps
- Ensure gender-dimensions in CRVS systems are not overlooked
- Explore how interoperability and openness can maximize impact for the SDGs
- Learn more about how we can best serve the needs of national statistical offices to make open data happen from plan to action
Here at the end of this recount of 2018, and among our very first thoughts in this new year, we wish to thank all our partners and funders, particularly the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Data2X and SDSN. None of this would be possible without them. And we look forward to further collaboration in 2019!