Volunteers are the heart of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement. Many volunteers are leaders in data skills while others are on a learning journey. One of our main goals this year is to support data literacy activities with National Societies by localizing data skills training, especially focused on volunteer engagement. Together with the IFRC Americas office, the we organized the first Data Literacy Workshop for volunteers of the Panamanian Red Cross. This workshop had the objective of improving the data skills of volunteers for more efficient use of information within the various programs they develop; as part of their community work in their National Societies and local branches.

“This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to be with all the colleagues in the region who manage data. There is a lot of valuable knowledge being transmitted to us, ” Manuel Diaz, National Volunteers Coordinator, Panama Red Cross.

We tailored the workshop to focus on various ‘data-driven’ sectors. The program activities are designed to provide practical examples in a fun and interactive way. Facilitators were from across the region from the different units who deal with data across the organization: (PMER, CASH, IM, FDRS, Innovation) which allow for a lot of interaction and networking.

The draft curriculum used included such favourite exercises like ‘describe a piece of fruit as data‘.

  • Introduction to Data Literacy
  • What is Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PMER)
  • Data Collection tool basics
  • Information Management in the Movement
  • Information Management in Cash Transfer Programs
  • Data Security and Data Protection
  • Introduction to the Federation-wide Databank Reporting System (FDRS)

Panama RC Data Literacy workshop

We used a mix of exercises from the Data Playbook, which helped them to reinforce the acquired knowledge in a fun and practical manner. You are welcome to review the presentations delivered at this workshop in the following link. (Spanish)

Some observations from Margarita, curator of the Data for Volunteers project:

  • There is a big need to keep doing this type of activity with volunteers.
  • IFRC is going too fast with data. People are overwhelmed by tools and need the data basics to guide on clear picture.
  • This event gave participants the fundamental tool overview. The users can then make decisions on the applicable tools.
  • Volunteers need the introduction to data – what are the attributes? why it matters?
  • Volunteers collaborate across programs with data workflows. the skills are transferable across IM, Cash, PMER etc.
  • IFRC is doing data analysis and data viz trainings. It is important to put the whole data pipeline together and meet people where they are.

For more information contact: data.literacy AT ifrc DOT org.

[Photo Credits: Margarita Griffith. CCBY]