UNICEF Data Strategy

UNICEF | Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lesotho,  Ethiopia, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea | UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office

UNICEF, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has recently unveiled a new organizational data strategy. It is aimed at ensuring data “works” for children. 

DG has worked on a two-year, 9-country, three-region project supporting UNICEF’s Data for Children Strategic Framework. This work included conducting extensive desk research and in-country key informant interviews with over 250 stakeholders across Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Equatorial Guinea. We also conducted landscape assessments for the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and the West and Central Africa Regional Office.

In each location, we've built out country and regional data action plans. With DG's help, UNICEF strives to identify exactly where it should be investing to have the greatest impact for children.


“If we say an issue is a big challenge, that must be backed up by information. We strive to base everything we put in [strategies and plans] on tangible data.” 

                                                                                             – UNICEF Data Strategy Interviewee


Within the data ecosystem of each location, what were the most common “pain points” in the value chain that prevent the demand, supply, and use of data for evidence-based policy? From our research, we found common unmet needs related to the production and access of fit-for-purpose data; misaligned accountabilities and incentives for measuring results; and a missing middle between data generation and evidence communication. Across UNICEF programs, we took an in-depth look into each of these themes, sharing broad recommendations for strengthening data ecosystems as well as country-specific recommendations.

For different UNICEF Country Offices, this may mean implementing a few different changes in the way UNICEF functions. But above all, UNICEF aims to shift focus from collecting massive, rarely-used amounts of data, to informing “smart demand” of data -- collecting information with specific decisions and problems in mind.

The country and regional data action plans aim to help UNICEF understand where it is best-placed to support data for country priorities. We also seek to identify how UNICEF can best engage with the broader community to circumvent possible roadblocks.

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

For more information, see here, here, and here for our in-depth blog post series on our work support the roll-out of UNICEF’s Data for Children Strategic Framework.

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