We recently completed a data visualisation for Twaweza, an East African NGO, to promote better awareness of children’s learning levels in the region. The goal of the visualisation is to turn survey data on education levels into a useful public good and to enable faster decision-making.

Twaweza’s Uwezo initiative is Africa’s largest annual citizen assessment of children’s learning levels across hundreds of thousands of households. Following an iterative design process, the HDX data team worked on data preparation and cleaning, and built on a survey visualisation previously prepared. We aimed primarily to show comprehension levels in mathematics, English and Swahili at the sub-national level across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Uwezo is a ‘citizen movement based’ approach to assessing literacy and numeracy levels in East Africa. It draws on the example of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India, spearheaded by Pratham.

The Uwezo approach monitors basic literacy and numeracy levels of children aged 5-16 years across at least 50% of the districts across Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda through a household-based survey. The survey follows a phased approach to educational reform, based on the belief that informed and motivated citizens are the most powerful agents of sustainable change. Uwezo places great emphasis on the communication of findings–in fostering informed public understanding and debate about the situation and what can be done about it. The 2016 Uwezo Learning Assessment Reports for Kenya and Uganda are now available online.

By communicating survey results at the community level, Twaweza hopes that engaged citizens, starting with ‘courageous outliers,’ will take steps to improve learning through private or collective action. They also hope that key actors at the district and national levels will begin to change their approach to education as a result of survey evidence and public pressure. Subsequent surveys should allow for learning, monitoring and evaluation.

Credit: Uwezo, TENMET and Hivos/Twaweza, 2011

We are grateful to Twaweza for this collaboration, especially Aidan Eyakuze, John Mugo and James Ciera. According to Aidan, the data visualisation exercise with HDX motivated them to take a deeper look at the wealth of data they collect. They also realised how much value and insight could be derived from the data and passed on to partners.

For more about the HDX Nairobi Data Lab, see my slides below from the  International Open Data Conference in Madrid and this two-pager about our work.