The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Development Gateway (DG) are pleased to release a new report entitled “Decision-Making and Data Use Landscaping: Better Data, Better Decisions - May 2017 to October 2018.” This work examines the role that data plays in supporting key decisions taken by DFID at the strategy, portfolio (sector or country), and programme level. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through DG’s Results Data Initiative, the report synthesises in-depth interviews with approximately 60 DFID staff across four country offices, all sector teams, and senior management.
Data-driven decision-making was considered a positive norm across countries researched during the UNICEF Data for Children pilot process. Ideally, the national data use cycle would consist of: (i) evidence-based planning; (ii) implementing programs according to plans; (iii) monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and reporting; (iv) analyzing data; and (v) making appropriate planning or program adjustments.
What does “fit-for-purpose” data actually mean? It depends: on who you ask, and what decision is at stake. For governments and development partners – particularly those who rely on data from country systems for program planning and management – much frustration came from perceived redundancies in statistical and administrative data systems.
Within the Sustainable Development Goal context of “leave no one behind,” there exists an opportunity – and a pressing obligation – to support better outcomes for children. But much of the change needed must happen at country and local level, through better use of data and evidence in decision-making.
Moving into 2019, we are pleased to be expanding RDI alongside our growing set of partners and funders. The program’s third phase focuses on agency-level engagement, and we will be scaling our partnerships with these development agencies to use results data to inform critical policy and programmatic decisions.
When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it’s easy to conjure up two conflicting images: the first, killer robots whizzing past, replacing human jobs, daily tasks, and social interactions in a post-apocalyptic world; the second, a C-3PO-esque personality revolutionizing our health and food systems. Pondering this, we are also inclined to explore the question, where does global development fit in within this futuristic, Star Wars-inspired universe?
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