Humanitarian Data Transparency Series
At the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, major global humanitarian actors came together and brokered the Grand Bargain. This involved a series of commitments in key areas. One commitment aimed to improve transparency. Four years on, significant gains have been made as part of the Transparency Workstreams’ agenda. However, certain transparency targets are still lagging and the full potential of more transparent humanitarian information is yet to be realised. This can only be done if the information made available is actively used and benefits local and national humanitarian responders. Without this important perspective, transparency risks becoming nothing more than a tool for financial compliance. With it, we might be able to better understand whether improved transparency can unlock new methods of communication and inclusiveness, and ultimately support relief efforts.
To contribute towards this evidence base, Publish What You Fund launched a project in early 2019 to investigate and better understand the user needs of on the ground humanitarian actors, particularly local and national responders. We were seeking to understand what challenges humanitarian actors in protracted crises faced in accessing and using data, and whether and how improved transparency and greater information sharing could help. The research has provided insights into potential changes that need to be made in order to make this information more useful and accessible to those on the front lines.
Funded by the Dutch Government and in partnership with Development Initiatives, Publish What You Fund and Ground Truth Solutions conducted research into the information needs of humanitarian actors as part of the Grand Bargain Transparency agenda. Our research had three key objectives:
- To increase understanding of the information needs and challenges of humanitarian actors on the ground, in particular local and national responders.
- To identify existing open data standards, platforms and tools, and assess their accessibility and usefulness in relation to meeting the needs and addressing the challenges identified.
- To identify possible improvements to open data standards, platforms and tools to better provide the information needed and in a way that makes it accessible to these actors.
As a result of this research, we have produced a series of four reports on humanitarian data transparency, each aligned with one of the four Grand Bargain Transparency Workstream commitments. The reports will be published in June 2020.
- Research Brief 1: Publication of humanitarian funding data
- Research Brief 2: Data collection, analysis and use in protracted humanitarian crises
- Research Brief 3: The use, challenges and opportunities associated with digital platforms
- Research Brief 4: Data use capacity in protracted humanitarian crises
We used a combination of quantitative and qualitative research approaches, involving four phases:
- Desk research & review;
- An initial quantitative instrument (an online survey);
- Qualitative in-country key informant interviews; and
- The production of final synthesis reports.
We decided to focus exclusively on protracted crises as they account for approximately 85% of total humanitarian aid. Therefore, we felt a case study approach gave us the greatest opportunity to understand these complex humanitarian environments, and better enable us to develop insightful conclusions and recommendations. Following a robust selection process, we opted for Iraq and Bangladesh.
Our full methodology is available here.