Read about the 2019 Data Fellows Programme below. You can also learn more about the 2019 Class of Fellows here.


The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has a Centre for Humanitarian Data in The Hague, the Netherlands to help increase the use and impact of data in the humanitarian sector. The vision is to create a future where all people involved in a humanitarian emergency have access to the data they need, when and how they need it, to make responsible and informed decisions.

The Centre focuses on four areas: data services, data policy, data literacy, and network engagement. The Centre’s data services work includes direct management of the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform and the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL) data standard. The data literacy work focuses on improving the data skills of technical and non-technical humanitarians. For data policy, the Centre creates guidelines for the responsible use of data by OCHA staff and partners. Finally, the Centre works to further build and engage an active community in support of its mission and objectives through a number of events and communication activities.

Data Fellows Programme

The Centre hosted its second class of Fellows in The Hague in June and July 2019. Through this programme, Fellows came together to design and deliver targeted projects that contribute to the overall goals of the Centre. The 2019 Fellows focused on four areas where the Centre is seeking new perspectives, insights and partnerships including: Business Strategy, Data Science (education data), Predictive Analytics, and Statistics (disability data). The Fellowship programme was residential, with Fellows living and working in The Hague under the direction of the Coordinator for the Data Fellows Programme.

Support for the second class of Fellows was provided as part of the OCHA partnership with, inter alia, Education Above All Foundation that is a global foundation working to improve access to quality education for​ disadvantaged people.


Business Strategy: The Centre receives support from a variety of partnerships through direct funding, partner secondments, and in-kind contributions. We would like to explore the feasibility of a variety of sustainable business models for how the Centre operates. In order to adopt a new model, the Centre needs to understand the potential market for the solution and clarify the value proposition to partners. 


Data Science (education): There are a number of initiatives in the humanitarian sector focused on improving access to and the quality of education in conflict environments. The Centre has partnered with the Education Above All Foundation to improve access to data on education in emergencies. This data will help to highlight how attacks against education during times of conflict and insecurity deprive children of their right to education. 


Predictive Analytics: One area of emerging interest in the humanitarian sector is predictive analytics: asking “what will happen” in a particular humanitarian context and using machine learning and the application of statistical modeling to arrive at an answerThe Centre initiated its work in Predictive Analytics through the 2018 Data Fellows Programme, and has continued to invest in this area through sustained research into the development of models related to different aspects of humanitarian response. 


Statistics (disability): Globally, an estimated one billion people have a disability, of which 800 million live in developing countries. In any crisis-affected community, persons with disabilities continue to be among the most marginalized: an estimated 9.7 million are forcibly displaced because of persecution, conflict, and human rights violations. Data that accurately describes the demographics of persons with disabilities is currently very scarce, especially in humanitarian contexts. 



The Fellows began their work by designing a project based on a problem statement provided by the Centre. The Fellows conducted desk and user research before developing at least one working prototype related to their focus area.



For those of you interested in applying to the programme, we will advertise the new fellowships in early 2020. Sign up to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @humdata for the announcement.

If you are interested in working with our 2020 class of Fellows, we would love to hear from you. Email us at

Learn more about the 2019 Class of Fellows here or watch the video below.