DG Publications Library

Delivering Data Where it Counts: Principles for Subnational Data Use

Calls for more inclusive development activity, aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an increasingly complex set of development actors, spur the data revolution and a demand for better, more targeted decision-making.

Through informal consultations and its own programming, the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) program has been gathering case studies to document drivers and the value of subnational data programming. Based on these case studies and DCLI learnings, DG has developed initial Principles for Subnational Data Use. These principles – and the collection of case studies – are a living document. In the coming year, we will continue to consult the broader community, focusing on subnational partners to further validate and improve these principles. 

Following this engagement, final principles will be presented at the 2020 World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland, together with a call for organizations and governments to endorse the principles and apply them in their work.

DG's Strategic Vision 2018-2021

Since late 2018, DG has been operating under a new strategy that has allowed us to focus more on our areas of success to better execute our mission of supporting the use of data, technology, and evidence to create more effective and responsive institutions.

We developed our strategy to provide direction for the next three years, building on what we have learned from each successive wave of our evolution. We feel this vision is responsive to the evolving needs of the data revolution and the SDG agenda, positioning us to use our skills and experience to support key actors at the global, national, and local level. To meet our mission, we have identified four key organizational objectives, supported by three programmatic pillars.

Managing for Feminist Results: Measuring Canada's Feminist International Assistance

In 2017, Canada rolled out the world's first Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), to promote gender equality and empower women and girls as the effective approach to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Through the Results Data Initiative (RDI), we worked with Global Affairs Canada - International Assistance (GAC-IA) to develop its FIAP M&E work plan, design a comprehensive FIAP M&E system to fit within its existing frameworks, and calculate pre-FIAP baseline values for all 26 indicators identified.

This paper outlines the challenges and opportunities that development agencies may face when adopting new and/or feminist policies, and provides an overview of how other development agencies can integrate a feminist lens into their M&E frameworks.

Conceptual Framework for the Design of the National Agriculture Management Information System (NAMIS) in Malawi

Since 2017, DG has collaborated with the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development (MoAIWD) in country level data use support, as part of Phase II of the Results Data Initiative. Our aim was to support framework design for the National Agriculture Management Information System (NAMIS).

This Conceptual Framework and its Executive Summary inform NAMIS design, and provide actionable recommendations for MoAIWD during implementation. DG and MoAIWD completed a detailed landscape analysis – of priority decisions, data and tools, and data use barriers in the agriculture sector. These reports analyze and synthesize findings to inform NAMIS design around potential users.

Data for Children Landscape Diagnostics

Over the past two years, DG has worked across seven countries and two regions to support the roll-out of UNICEF’s Data for Children Strategic Framework. This included developing country ecosystem diagnostics and strategic action plans for UNICEF Country Offices in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lesotho, and Ethiopia; and for the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

Below are the Data Landscape Diagnostics for the Philippines, Lesotho, and Ethiopia (Diagnostic Policy Brief), to support the smart demand, supply, and use of data.

Landscape Report on the Role of Data in DFID

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and DG recently released the report “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. 

Since the report was finalized in late 2017, its recommendations have been implemented by integrative work across analytical and technical professions in DFID, and made possible by the creation of a new cross-departmental DFID Statistics Hub. The report also informed DFID’s thinking on how to harness the potential of data in tackling extreme poverty.

Results Data Initiative White Papers

DG's recent white papers shares our thinking around smarter M&E investments to drive data use, gained from Results Data Initiative implementation.

The August 2018 paper, Understanding Data Use: Building M&E Systems that Empower Users, emphasizes how critical it is for decision makers to consider users’ decision space – from the institutional all the way to technical levels – in achieving data uptake.

The December 2018 paper, The Custom Assessment Landscaping Methodology (CALM): Balancing Accountability and Learning in M&E Systems, shares one approach for developing tools and processes that increase the utility and impact of data for decision-making. It also shares case studies from our work with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Malawi to provide an overview of how implementing CALM supports the design of more balanced M&E data systems.

International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Implementation Reports

Below contains all of the findings from DG's June 2018 work partnering with Development Initiatives (DI) on IATI-AIMS (Aid Information Management Systems) integration, using UNICEF IATI data in Madagascar and Senegal country level systems.

Check out our blog post for more insight on the release of these reports, and Development Initiatives' parallel post as well! Additionally, the 2016 Use of IATI in Country Systems report fed directly into implementation of this work and the generation of these reports.

West Africa Open Contracting Assessment Project

In 2016-2017, DG and the Open Contracting Partnership spent several months studying open contracting readiness across West Africa. Working with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), we have published a series of open contracting scoping studies that provide comprehensive overviews of our findings.

Country reports aimed at assessing open contracting readiness:

Below is the Synthesis Report highlighting practical steps for encouraging open contracting implementation in these 5 countries and in Côte d’Ivoire, and an analysis of the view of the public markets in the 5 assessment countries from British and international businesses interests, conducted by IBLF Global.

Results Data Initiative Phase I Findings

An overview of the Results Data Initiative and the Phase I findings of our work:

In 2016, with our partners at the AidData Center for Development Policy, DG undertook three country studies exploring how development data influence decision-making in Timor-Leste, Honduras, and Senegal. The "Avoiding Data Graveyards" report details the findings of those studies.

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