[ed. note: Data @ IFRC is a blog series to share highlights from the Red Cross Red Crescent Secretariat and National Societies. We will include learning opportunities and thought pieces on all things data from ethics to evidence.]

What does it mean to be locally-driven in our data activities? In this edition of Data @ IFRC, we’ll share three examples of how the global community is working together to learn and share data. We also have some resources to assist your data journey.

Water and Sanitation Initiative: 30 million people by 2025

Robert FraserPresenting GWSI Dashboard

IFRC aims to increase access to safe water and sanitation to 30 million people by 2025. The Global Water and Sanitation Initiative (GWSI) partnered with Salesforce.org to monitor our progress on this important goal.

IFRC-GWSI leaflet­2016-EN[2] copy
Robert Fraser, Senior Officer WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) Health and Care Department, is shepherding this project to a beta launch. The technical teams often joke about transferring the institutional knowledge in Robert’s brain into the dashboard tool requirements and data outputs. The GWSI Salesforce.org project aims to encourage ownership, use, and accountability of the data while building value for the National Societies. The workflow is simple – National Societies will upload their water and sanitation project data to the system on a regular basis. The tool produces basic data visualizations along with the capability for sharing reporting content. The benefits of the portal are many, including having a global snapshot of water and sanitation projects by country plus disaggregated data.  For National Societies, they will be able to produce marketing publications and simplify reporting.

In early May, the GWSI dashboard team, including Salesforce.org technical staff, will have a real-time test with three National Societies – Ghana Red Cross Society, Cambodian Red Cross Society, and Kenyan Red Cross Society. The goals of the beta workshops are multiple: train users, test the tool functionalities and collect feedback for the next stages. The IFRC Secretariat works closely with National Societies to meet various sector needs. It is always exciting to see iterative prototyping between various groups. This collaboration is an example of how combining resources, expertise, and skills creates value for the GWSI members.

Learn by Doing: the Croix-Rouge Malagasy (Madagascar)

Croix Rouge Malagasy via Guido (IFRC)

Since Cyclone Enawo struck Madagascar, the IFRC operations team has been providing information management support. Together with the Croix-Rouge Malagasy, Guido Pizzini, IFRC Senior Officer, Information Management and Data Analysis, has been providing data training and guidance.

IFRC is building a workflow to openly share our data via the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). The team added a needs assessment which breaks down the people affected by this emergency. You can download and review the data here. By tagging the data columns in the csv with HXL (Humanitarian Exchange Language) tags, it means that the data structures trigger quick data visualizations via the HDX dashboard. While the road to open data at IFRC is slow, there are ongoing efforts to share data to support response.

Cyclone Enawo Croix Rouge Malagasy Needs AssessmentData


Monitoring and Evaluation Training in the Americas

M&E Honduras training

A recent monitoring and evaluation (M &E) training in Tegucigalpa, Honduras was hosted by the Americas region, Honduras Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross. Participants were from the Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduras Red Cross. Sessions covered good practices in different data collection methods, including key stakeholder interviews, surveys etc. An expert from the Canadian Red Cross gave insights into the importance of “do no harm,” gender and diversity, community engagement and accountability, and child protection. Miki  Tskuamoto, Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation, guided a session using remixable session plan for basic data visualization for humanitarians. (via Guido Pizzini.)

We have started to create curriculum (session plans) for data literacy basics to be added into existing workshop modules. Best practices are being aggregated via the Informal Data Working Group then tested in the field by various leaders.


Training: Responsible Data practices are important for any data project. At IFRC, we are working on a number of initiatives to better support training and development. Oxfam recently published a Responsible Data training pack, which may be of use for or work.

Recognition: The IFRC’s Project/Program Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Guide has been recognized as one of the Best Project Monitoring and Evaluation Guides and one of the 5 Fantastic Guides to Developing Project. We’ve been working fairly closely with this team to build out data literacy programs that can be measured.

Listen: “Between 2 Geeks” is a new World Bank data team podcast series. They will talk with folks who create and use data, across the international development sector.  Listen here.

Read: Who gets internet access during an emergency? Rakesh Bharania looks at the wifi, gender and social dynamics.

Learn:  Turns out you don’t have to fly to join a conference. The Artifical Intelligence event: AI with the Best aims to help developers with everything from machine learning to computer vision. It is completely online.  (Hat tip to Lillian Pierson, Data Mania)


(Credits: Photo of Robert Fraser by Heather Leson, CCBY. Photo of the Croix-Rouge Malagasy by Guido Pizzini. Photo of the Honduras RC training by Canadian RC/Evelyn Vallejo Salcedo. GWIS Graphic by the IFRC. Cyclone Enawo graphic via HDX.)