Friday, 11.30-12.30

Participatory problem-solving: How do we harness the power of big data analytics for M&E? Jerusha Govender, Data Innovator, South African M&E Association
Data analytic tools and sources of large data sets present great opportunity as well as challenges to evidence generation. The session will present South African cases and lessons of big and small data analytics in monitoring and evaluation. Session participants will engage in an interactive problem-solving exercise to source qualitative insights into the perceptions around the gaps to big data analytics implementation, scale-up, data access, and skills. 

Session Level:

Intermediate

Session Details:

The goal of this session is to generate discussion on big data analytics implementation in Africa, and document insights on addressing the gaps in scale-up, data access and new skills.

Data analytic tools and sources of large data sets present a great opportunity as well as a risk to evidence generation. The session will be a facilitated discussion to present current cases and source qualitative insights into the perceptions around the gaps to implementation, scale-up, data access, and skills.

In the development sector, big data has been used particularly through geo-sensing, community radio, postal data, drone data, social media, and service data. However, access to this form of secondary data poses a challenge. In South Africa, organisations such as Code4SA and Open Data Durban have begun to drive access to public datasets. At this nascent stage of big data analytics harnessing its use requires development professional to be more aware of its potential, its sources, and uses. In addition, applying big data analytic approaches for small data use could improve how data is translated.

The session will have two parts:
Part 1: The beginning of the session will include a presentation on South African cases of big and small data use in development – particularly in monitoring and evaluation. I will also present current open-source and advanced platforms to source and analyse data in the South African context, the rhetoric on privacy and policy on big data use, as well as need for increasing the pool of skills in the field. The audience will have an opportunity for Q&A.
Part 2: The facilitator will engage with the audience in an interactive problem-solving exercise to discuss and document specific perceptions to address the gaps in. In groups the audience will brainstorm solutions to specific gaps based on their experience and insights gained through the presentation. It will allow them to discuss the real contextual issues in Africa with the facilitator and generate actionable solutions. The groups will then share their solutions and personal experiences.

The solutions and discussion will be documented and presented as an infographic, disseminated after the conference.

Session Leads:

Jerusha Govender, Founder & Managing Director, Data Innovator. Jerusha Govender is an entrepreneur, and M&E specialist. She is a thought leader in the data analytics and M&E field in South Africa. She is on the South African National M&E Association Board, and served on the board of Pledger-Africa. Jerusha has been featured in the South African Entrepreneur Magazine, Destiny and Destiny Man Magazines as a growing entrepreneur in the data for development space. Jerusha has worked within Research, M&E units playing a central role in creating systems for data gathering, information management and knowledge sharing for national, regional and international organisations. Jerusha is the founder and Managing Director of Data Innovator. The start-up consultancy based in South Africa, aims to help organisations tell their story with creative approaches to M&E and data analytics. More about her here, on Twitter @jnsoomar or @datainnovator and at Data Innovator.

Supplementary Materials:

Useful resources and organisational sites to review:

http://unglobalpulse.org/sites/default/files/IntegratingBigData_intoMEDP_web_UNGP.pdf

http://www.undatarevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/A-World-That-Counts.pdf

http://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/library/reports/the_africa_data_revolution_report_2016.html

http://www.unglobalpulse.org/sites/default/files/BigDataforDevelopment-UNGlobalPulseMay2012.pdf

https://openup.org.za/

https://opendata.durban/

https://thedatainnovator.com/