Peace in Numbers

For years, Big Data – enormous amounts of information from a variety of sources, covering a range of topics – has been recognized as a resource for evaluating the impact and benefit of development projects. Increasingly, implementers, governments, and citizens are working in concert to use this data to shape domestic policy and multilateral programming.

But what if we could use Big Data to not only influence national programming and international procedures; what if we harness Big Data to secure physical and material peace and security for all?

This month, Development Gateway participated in working groups with implementers, policymakers, and academics exploring this potential at the Centre for Innovation – Leiden University’s Campus The Hague. Part of the Europe’s “Innovation Union,” the Centre’s Peace Informatics Lab project brings together implementers, policy makers, and thought leaders to turn quantitative data into qualitative recommendations for lasting peace.

One of the main themes emerging from this August’s discussion was the importance of context in Big Data. There was a consensus that nuances behind numbers are easily lost, especially when actors far removed from impacted communities take on data analysis and policy recommendations.

As an organization dedicated to uniting technology with policy, Development Gateway has over 12 years of experience bridging the gap between numbers and action. Our representatives at the Peace Informatics Lab discussions were able to share case studies of the successful adaptation of Big Data to local situations and needs as well insights from our work in countries such as Haiti, Nepal, Timor-Leste, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help equip local officials with the tools to gather accurate and effective data, and the capacity to analyze and act on that data.

We are proud to be a part of ongoing efforts to capture and leverage Big Data for the common good.

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