How would you champion for the increased use of data to make decisions when designing development programs? What would be needed to make data-driven development project designs a reality? What are the current challenges faced in designing data driven programs and is there need for such? The reality is that: there are few, if any, publicly available resources providing information about development-focused political decision-making in African countries; the knowledge base on national development priorities, policies, and spending is highly fragmented and standardized methods of comparing human development approaches and activities do not exist across countries.
To tackle this problem, a consortium comprising of Africa Practice, Code for Africa, and iHub with financial assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working on a digital information service that will provide target audiences (i.e. domestic advocacy organizations, policymakers from both donor and recipient countries, aid agencies, philanthropists, and the private sector) with up-to-date quick reference guides on the political and development landscapes in 10 selected countries (DRC, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda). This project comprises on many moving parts, for this blog post the focus will be to give some high level insights on the project process. iHub role in the project is to spearhead a user-centered approach to identify the needs for this project and design a product that would have high adoption and usage.
The iHub team together with partners- Africa Practice and Code for Africa held a week long design sprint the week of 5th -8th February 2018. The purpose of the spring was to design a digital information service to provide players in the human development index in Africa with the key information to aid them develop more data-driven programs. Participants from the came from Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. Activities in the sprint included mapping the problem area, ideating on possible solutions, a branding activity for the product, designing a prototype and testing with users. The team also developed detailed user profiles to use to design the information service and the report work is ongoing. It is believed that the profiles will provide a sufficient breadth and depth of information for experts to become conversant in issues outside their focus area. That information should also include the key political and economic context needed to inform issue-specific work leading to more data-driven program development.
Stay tuned for more updates.