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.
Providing life-saving information and establishing two-way communication flows with communities affected by crises.
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.
Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities: Part 2 of 3
Towards Inclusion: The Need for Human-Centered Design Approaches
It might seem logical that the majority of data-centric conversations start and end with technical discussions of raw data. In practice, however, raw data isn’t truly that useful to most individuals. It’s only when we use data that it transforms into knowledge, informs decisions and truly makes an impact. It is, therefore, the how, why and where data are and could be used that matters most.
There’s clearly no shortage of excitement and promise about the ways that big data can be applied to meet the world’s challenges. This “Data Revolution” – as declared by the United Nations, the World Bank and many others – provides an unparalleled opportunity to rethink how we approach innovation and social impact. Often described as the “new oil” of the global economy, data has the potential to more effectively include, engage and ultimately impact all facets of society.
Current methods of collating and monitoring information in emergencies are time-intensive and do not allow us to track trends, gaps, or insights over time. Internews’ experience in working with local media in emergency situations is grounded in the work of the Internews Humanitarian Information Programs Unit, which has been responding to emergencies in more than 20 countries in the past 10 years.
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country and one of the poorest and underdeveloped in the world. The country has experienced almost two decades to conflicts since 1996, including the Bush Wars from 2001.
In our conversations with humanitarian professionals about data and information sharing with affected populations, one of the most interesting themes of discussion has been accountability. This term, much like open data, is a buzzword for humanitarians.
While it is undeniably true that the idea of open data is becoming better recognized and prominently pursued in parts of the humanitarian community, this belief is not universal nor without serious complications. Issues of data privacy, security, and the need to first 'do no harm' make humanitarian data sharing with affected populations that much more difficult.
Open data is a buzzword, or more accurately a buzz-phrase, these days. In certain segments of the humanitarian community, there seems to exist an energy behind making data more openly and publicly available. Whether looking at UN OCHA’s impressive new HDX data-sharing site, the IATI registry, or a bevy of individual organizations’ online data portals, one could come to the conclusion that open data has fully arrived.