Becky Band Jain, Centre for Humanitarian Data

Profiles

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped the UNOCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data from informing and training humanitarians on data literacy.

Courtesy Becky Band Jain

“It’s wonderful to collaborate with partners who are dedicated to ensuring that aid is delivered to the right place at the right time for the people who most need it.”

What is the biggest challenge for digital civil society?

BECKY BAND JAIN: Working in the field of humanitarian data, one of the biggest challenges we face is the gaps in the availability of accurate, up-to-date data. Other closely related challenges include ensuring that this data is shared responsibly—especially sensitive data—as well as the data literacy abilities of humanitarians to make better decisions to improve the lives of people caught in crisis.

FURTHER READING


The State of Open Humanitarian Data report brings attention to data that is available and missing across humanitarian operations.

What is your organization doing to meet this challenge?

BECKY BAND JAIN: Our Data Grids show what critical data is both missing and available so that we can all be more focused with our data sharing and outreach. Our annual State of Humanitarian Data Report (the next  report will be released in January 2021) goes into even more detail on what is required to understand crises more effectively. Overall, we work closely with organizations to share their data and urge organizations who haven’t already joined the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) to do so. To address the challenge of responsible data sharing in humanitarian settings, we work with country offices on information sharing protocols and produce guidance to inform practitioners, and we are developing a secure technical infrastructure and service model to improve how we support partners in processing sensitive data before sharing the data via HDX. Regarding data literacy, while COVID-19 disrupted our planned training, we’ve shifted to providing remote support for humanitarians to build their data skills.

What excites you most about what others in the social sector/civil society are doing to meet this challenge?

BECKY BAND JAIN: Our partners in the humanitarian sector are pushing the envelope in terms of innovation around data and technology, in order to create efficiencies in a larger system which ultimately can save lives. It’s wonderful to collaborate with partners in the HDX Community who are dedicated to ensuring that aid is delivered to the right place at the right time for the people who most need it.