In an increasingly data-driven world, the importance of quality, and accessible data cannot be overstated. Yet, substantial data gaps still persist, hindering the path towards sustainable and equitable global development. This blog shares some insights gathered from the Impact Data Summit 2023, where discussions examined artificial intelligence, data’s impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the role of multistakeholder efforts across sectors to advance initiatives.
The session, “Crunching the Numbers: Bridging Data Gaps in Development” organized by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Rockefeller Foundation, and data.org, delved into the issues surrounding data gaps and offered practical and innovative solutions aimed at bridging these data disparities.
“In a world driven by data, it’s crucial to address the gaps that hinder our progress towards a more inclusive and sustainable future.” highlighted Lorrayne Porciuncula, Executive Director of the Datasphere Initiative, and moderator of the session.
Lorrayne invited speakers to share examples of how lack of access to high-quality data, overlooked populations, and knowledge silos can limit sustainable and equitable growth.
Krista Jones Baptista, Data2X’s Executive Director, spoke to the issues facing women and girls due to the lack of gender data available to governments and institutions.
“Chronic under-investment and lack of prioritization in gender data directly correlates with the lack of comprehensive and accurate data on women and girls, which leads to incomplete, missing, and biased information.” she said.
Shikoh Gitau, Founder and CEO, Qhala shared experiences from the health sector.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kenya’s government wanted to make informed decisions for the health and safety of its citizens”.
She explained how each health center maintained its own isolated data repository, resulting in policymakers relying on frameworks developed in other regions that were ultimately ill-suited to Kenya’s specific requirements.
Holly Krambeck, Program Manager, Data Lab, World Bank, emphasized how international cooperation among different partners and stakeholders is key to avoiding silos and fragmentation.
Krista Jones Baptista shared how their work in advocating for the inclusion of gender data in the development of financial policies and products to increase women’s economic power resulted in a pilot study in six countries that led to the development of The Gender Data Playbook for Women’s Financial Inclusion, published this past May.
“We know that when stakeholders, policymakers, and institutional leaders have and use the data about the challenges and contributions of women, girls, and gender-diverse people they can develop smarter and more effective solutions that accelerate progress toward a gender-equitable future, which in turn creates healthier, stronger, and more resilient communities and economies throughout the world,” said Krista.
The session’s panelists emphasized the need to use data responsibly to ensure equitable representation, mitigate biases, and ensure that no one is left behind.
Harnessing the power of data and empowering individuals and communities to foster trust can present an opportunity to guide our data-driven initiatives toward a more inclusive and just future.