Internews Global Health Advisor Ida Jooste recently went to Liberia to serve as a mentor for 16 journalists as they worked with Internews to respond to information needs following the Ebola outbreak. Ida's visit to Liberia provided a great opportunity to learn more about the crucial role of reliable information in health emergencies; more specifically, the rumor-filled environment in Liberia during and after the Ebola crisis provided Internews with an ideal opportunity to employ its Information Ecosystems Tool in a humanitarian crisis.
Improving the quality and quantity of information on health issues across communications platforms, from radio to mobile.
Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities: Part 3 of 3
The Data Revolution and the Importance of Information Ecosystems
Tackling the assumptions that shape the “big/open data” narrative takes courage. Does “open” or “big” data actually make a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable? Do these terms genuinely influence what people think and consequently guide how they might act? Who knows? Regardless, we need the means to start asking these questions.
When Kuang Chen was conducting research in East Africa, he noticed that there was a strong appetite for data both from local organizations and donors. Yet, most data was trapped in paper files stuck in storerooms, with manual data entry as the only solution to releasing it. Wondering how the latest data technologies could be leveraged for the lowest resource organizations, Kuang created the software called “Shredder” that eventually became Captricity.
Design thinking draws on methods from fields like engineering and design, and combines them with the arts, the social sciences, and the business world and therefore leading to creation of prototypes.
In light of the vital services provided by frontline health workers in Kenya, the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning commissioned this study to explore the potential for CHWs and TBAs to use an interactive mobile platform to improve the dissemination of health information in their communities.
CKAN is a data management system that makes data accessible by providing tools to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data.
To help improve the flow of information among marginalized communities of West Kalimantan Indonesia, where large palm oil companies wield tremendous power, the Internews Center for Innovation and Learning initiated a three-month pilot project in September 2011 that combined the power of mobile phone technologies with citizen journalism.
The buzz around open data has begun to subside. Those voicing caution about both the immediate impact and long-term success and utility of open data initiatives are being heard and (hopefully) heeded. Even as everything from multilateral data dumps to grassroots data initiatives take off, open data evangelists discover that creating a database does not automatically lead to accessibility, participation or transparency.
Everyone from Big Data goliaths like the World Bank, to data journalism heavyweights like The Guardian, BBC and New York Times, to software companies like ScraperWiki that clean and analyze data are getting into the data journalism training business. These are fantastic resources in the fast-paced age of open government data initiatives, apps, maps and visualizations.