Beyond BigData: Innovation in Development Evaluation

15 Apr 2015 by Maximilian Stern

Collecting data becomes more and more important to development aid. With the spread of digital information tools, the amount of information available within the development context has increased dramatically. Not only has the processing of traditional data – financial accounting, Inventory, stock of drugs, etc. – become much easier and cheaper. But also new and big data has emerged: Metadata on mobile phone or internet usage, banking transactions and many more. The value of this data has been recognized by all actors in development aid: Organizations are eager to present data in order to prove their effectiveness and efficiency to donors and to the public whilst  donors are analyzing this data to administer their aid portfolios. Nowadays, data transparency is key to success in in the development sector. However, the new addiction to data has led to an increased demand in measurability also within areas that were traditionally considered as barely measurable. Particularly development aid organizations are widely engaged in activities that are hard to capture in numbers: Supporting local authorities in developing accountable, effective and efficient workflows, for example. Or advising communities in conflict prevention. Clearly, it is possible to measure inputs: Number of workshops conducted, or hours of consultant … Read more

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