Sarah T. Lucas shares what’s ahead for our large-scale survey work: centering people in the data, nimble innovations, and global expansion.
An IDinsight enumerator with a survey respondent during data collection for a DataDelta project in Kilifi County, Kenya ©IDinsight
Dear colleagues, partners, and friends,
We have entered 2024 in a full-on sprint for our dynamic DataDelta team at IDinsight. It has me thinking about motivation and action. What are the things that get us going, put the wind in our sails, fuel us forward, and energize us to push through challenges?
Here is a glimpse of what’s ahead for us in 2024, what’s inspiring action, motivating our team, energizing our activities, and sustaining our efforts.
IDinsight’s DataDelta initiative delivers large-scale, high-quality survey data and insights to government and social sector leaders when they need it – enabling more informed decisions to improve people’s lives.
Even with extraordinary innovation in data types and analytical methods over the last decade, it is still far too hard to get data directly from people to understand their needs and experiences. Indeed, much of data innovation, like using mobile phones, geospatial, or social media data or machine learning models, seeks to make inferences about human behavior rather than obtain information firsthand. Yet, there are many things we can understand only by hearing directly from people: intra-household dynamics; differential experiences across subgroups; or the experiences of vulnerable people that are often unseen in administrative data or data collected passively through cell phones or social media.
We believe data is ultimately about voice, equity, and justice – revealing truths that are too often hidden. This is the specific information – collected from people themselves – that reveals inequities, enables the design and targeting of social programs, and can validate other sources, like remote sensing data and government administrative data. We focus on technical data quality and excellent field practices to protect the integrity and truth of what respondents tell us through DataDelta surveys.
In 2023, DataDelta-led surveys enabled the representation of the voice, aspirations, and socio-economic conditions of almost 300 million people across Kenya, the Philippines, and India.
As we work with partners to put people at the center of data for decision-making, we are excited about the variety of needs that DataDelta can meet.
For example, government and nonprofit leaders in Africa and Asia are using DataDelta surveys to more deeply understand the experiences of the people they aim to serve, making better decisions and improving the effectiveness of social programs. They are using DataDelta to strengthen institutions by upgrading their data systems, improving data quality, and bolstering their ability to use data to improve outcomes. Partners are using DataDelta to collect on-the-ground information to improve machine-learning models. DataDelta also has ambitious plans to fill gaps in socioeconomic data in India and support state officials to use this information to improve public services. Among these many applications of DataDelta, we are particularly excited about these areas of expansion in 2024:
All these exciting initiatives are built on the same core DataDelta offering – high-quality, timely data about people – collected directly from people.
We have seen an encouraging increase in demand for large-scale, quick-turnaround household surveys by large government institutions and NGOs. Government partners are increasingly seeing the value of investing in surveys that provide specific insights beyond census and administrative data, especially when developing or rolling out new policies.
Building on these successes, in 2024 DataDelta is deepening our engagement in India, Philippines, and Kenya and expanding to other African countries.
Our 2023 success and 2024 ambitions are powered by an incredible team. Take a look at the folks leading our DataDelta regional and innovations teams.
We are grateful to our supporters (special shout out to the team at Co-Impact!) and peers that have helped push our thinking, expand our capabilities, and now, in 2024 our global reach. Interested in collaborating or learning from our team? Please get in touch.
With enthusiasm for all that’s ahead,
Sarah and the DataDelta team
22 February 2024
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