The Centre’s data literacy work is focused on increasing the capability of humanitarians to access and use data in their daily work. To achieve this, we aim to create easy entry points for people from different roles and backgrounds to build their data skills.

We believe that building data skills has the following benefits:

  • Empowering non-technical humanitarians to use data more effectively
  • Bridging the gap between technical staff and decision makers on data needs
  • Increasing demand for better data and more targeted data collection
  • Improving conversations around data so that no one gets lost in technical language
The HAO cohort on the first day of the bootcamp.

Our data literacy programme includes intensive training courses, microlearning on specific data tasks, curated online resources, and a speaker series on data and technology. In October 2019, a group of OCHA Humanitarian Affairs Officers (HAOs) from across our field offices gathered in The Hague for a one-week ‘bootcamp’ on working with data. This crash course is one component of the Centre’s new Data Literacy Foundation Programme which runs for three months and includes remote training and mentoring for non-technical humanitarians. 

“I feel more comfortable reading charts and graphs, with a better understanding of how to reinforce messages with visuals. The data literacy programme is making an impact on my work.”
-Data Bootcamp Participant

In January 2019, we conducted a survey to understand how the Centre can best support humanitarians to improve their data skills. See the full survey results here, and below are a few takeaways:

  • Over 1,200 people completed the survey from 111 countries.
  • The greatest response rate came from people working outside of headquarters, i.e. those working in regional or country office locations.  
  • Analysing data was the most commonly reported task.
  • Collecting primary data, and assessing and improving the quality of data were the most commonly reported challenges.
  • 98% of respondents work on tasks related to data, with 70% working with data all the time.

In partnership with the Tableau Foundation, we provide access to training courses on data visualization using the Tableau software. As a founding member of the Data Literacy Consortium, we work together with NGOs, governments and UN agencies to share best resources and best practices around Data Literacy.

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