This is first in series of blogs looking at the use of data by government actors to solve development problems in Nepal. This post was first published in Development Initiatives blog section
For development interventions to transform the lives of the needy they need to be based on evidence driven by data. Data helps inform development policies, development decisions and therefore solve problems. As Nepal aspires to graduate from the Least Development Country by 2022 and successfully implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the use of data by decision-makers is key to address poverty, transparency, accountability and other socio-economic issues. But, what do we know about whether data is actually being used by Nepal’s development decision makers?
As a child Ravi Nepal wondered how many people lived in Dhanusa, his home town in southern Nepal. "I asked my parents but they had no idea of the exact number", said Ravi, Co-founder of Code for Nepal. Years later while studying at college in the United States his childhood curiosity revived. "I wanted to look up data on Nepal to help me write a research paper. I managed to find some data online but I found that often it was incomplete, or would only include broad national averages.
"Advocacy for women's rights has always been based on stories and anecdotes, but now with data women can say 'we count' and inform the world 'how we count'. Citizen-generate data is a power of democracy", said Wenny Kusuma, UN Women Country Representative to Nepal.
"The technology allowed us to collect more than 15,000 real-time data points in seven days. The real-time data monitoring has made our water, sanitation and hygiene projects easier to manage and more effective", Karmath Subedi of Nepal WASH Alliance
To ensure effective targeting of the poverty alleviation programmes (or for that matter of any development programmes) towards the intended beneficiaries there needs to be accurate, timely and disaggregated data, not only on who the poor are but also where they live, in what numbers and in what circumstances. Recognising that the targeting of programmes aimed at improving lives need to be based on evidence, the Government of Nepal has been taking steps to improve the evidence base on Nepal’s poor.
"If data isn't FROM all of us, then it isn't FOR all of us. So data can't work for all of us". This powerful message from data2x sums up the growing belief that citizen-generated data (CGD) can play a vital role in 'leaving no one behind' and 'creating a world that counts' as we proceed with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
A year and a half after the April 25th earthquake in Nepal, $5.2 billion1 of international and domestic assistance has been pledged, committed, disbursed or spent by a myriad of sources to provide immediate lifesaving assistance, long term rehabilitation, reconstruction, restoration of livelihoods, cash-assistance and much more to the people and communities that were affected.
This blog was first published in Development Initiatives Data Blog.
Last week we shared some recommendations from the civil society on improving sharing of government data in Nepal. We are pleased to annouce the second in our series of blogs about government data sharing which includes the views of those inside government.
Recommendations from those inside government
By Joshua Leslie