We spoke with four data for social impact leaders about our 2023 report Accelerate Aspirations: Moving to Achieve Systems Change. Aparna Krishnan, Project Director for J-PAL South Asia, talks about the importance of trust and how combining the knowledge, methods, and data from different contexts, regions, and sectors and then developing solutions that are locally relevant.
Building a more diverse and interdisciplinary workforce is necessary to tackle our most urgent challenges. Purpose-driven data practitioners are key to making data — and funding — go further for good.
According to Aparna Krishnan, Project Director for J-PAL South Asia, to do this we must combine globally informed approaches with locally grounded input and expertise to drive change. She shared her perspective during a recent data.org conversation with practitioners and funders to launch Accelerate Aspirations: Moving to Achieve Systems Change.
This doesn’t mean flying in solutions from New York or San Francisco.
“It means putting local people in the driver’s seat,” said Perry Hewitt, chief marketing and product officer for data.org.
It is increasingly important to create interconnectedness, adds Krishnan, by combining the knowledge, methods, and data from different contexts, regions, and sectors and then developing solutions that are locally relevant.
“data.org’s Capacity Accelerator Network aims to do exactly this,” said Krishnan.
This program creates locally-led knowledge hubs that share a common vision, resources, and knowledge with other hubs, yet set their own priorities, partners, and projects — ensuring community ownership and developing approaches suitable for local contexts.
By combining lived experience with globally informed methodologies, sustainable change happens — especially when attention is given to building trust through communications. Disseminating information to people, who often rely on village networks or religious leaders, is where trusted, local experts are necessary. Best practices need a network of ambassadors to be shared meaningfully, and in context.
“Nothing can move forward without trust,” said Krishnan.
We couldn’t agree more and dedicated part of the Accelerate report to hit this point home. Trust is the cornerstone to creating meaningful change. “The process of building trust is just as important as the final data-driven outcome,” stated the report.
Building trust and sharing power with local practitioners and leaders and creating solutions informed by local understanding and context ensures that data access barriers are dismantled — for good. Learn more about our efforts by downloading and sharing the Accelerate report and join our efforts to train one million purpose-driven data practitioners in the next 10 years.
2023 Data for Social Impact Report
Accelerate Aspirations: Moving Together to Achieve Systems Change
A comprehensive report on the key trends and tensions in the emerging field of data for social impact.