How can Social Impact Organizations (SIOs) embed community engagement in their data strategy?

Answered on: April 1, 2024
Answered by:
Angela-Oduor-Lungati-Executive-Director-Ushahidi-Inc.-Technologist-Community-Builder-Open-Source-Software-Advocate-Natfluence-Interview-Bio Angela Oduor Lungati Executive Director Ushahidi

Most SIOs face the same challenge plaguing the larger data ecosystem: they’ve managed to amass a lot of data but cannot extract valuable insights from it in a timely manner to drive their decision-making. Navigating this challenge requires a shift in strategy from mere data collection to prioritizing engagement with all stakeholders to translate raw data into actionable insights. 

It starts with the deliberate effort to actively engage with communities that provide this critical data rather than treating them as extractive data sources. This engagement will drive the design of technology tools used for data collection, ensure that the information gathered truly reflects their lived experiences, and identify their priorities and the decisions they would like to influence.   

Engagement is also necessary with decision-makers, who are likely the primary audience of the insights generated from local communities. SIOs need to understand the knowledge gaps that decision-makers have and how to fill those gaps in digestible formats. This level of understanding will drive decisions on leveraging technology to accelerate data processing and visualize insights intuitively. 

In short, SIOs need to ensure they have a deep understanding of all major stakeholders to help them design how to get the information they need, process it quickly, and share insights generated from it in ways that are easy to digest and understand. The key to all this lies in community engagement.

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