Discussions on Data Drive Improved Community Services
In Makangarawe Ward, A Leader of a Community-Based Organization Improves His Group’s Services and Fundraising Using Community Insights
Located in Southern Dar es Salaam, Temeke District has a population of just over 700,000—making it one of the country’s most densely populated areas. Makangarawe is an administrative ward of Temeke, with a population just over 40,000. Makangarawe faces many of the challenges of its neighbors in regards to data usage. Most community-based organizations (CBOs) view themselves as data couriers rather than data users, asked to share information with donors or stakeholders in the capital and rarely challenged to critically assess how they, as local institutions, could more meaningfully use data to have a greater impact in their communities. Additionally, many civil society organization (CSO) staff lack a basic understanding of what data is and why it would be relevant to their work.
Makangarawe Youths Information and Development Centre (MYDIC), a CBO in the ward led by Ismail Mnikite focuses on community empowerment broadly. They run a community library, provide legal advice to the community members, and work towards addressing the issue of gender-based violence in Makangarawe Ward.
Most community-based organizations (CBOs) view themselves as data couriers rather than data users
Ismail Mnikiti, Director of MYDIC
As the leader of a MYDIC, Ismail Mnikite recognized that he knew very little about data and how he could use data to improve his community before attending the Listening Campaign led by Sahara Sparks in August 2017. These Listening Campaigns are community-powered meetups to surface, identify, and prioritize challenges identified by the local community in each ward, in an inclusive and participant-driven way. They result in a report that includes a hyperlocal dataset about community challenges and perspectives. Without this high-resolution, relatively recent information, CBOs might not have the data they need to know exactly what priorities matter to their constituents.
The Listening Campaign process, as well as the data itself, are available openly here through Data Zetu’s Community Insights package: http://bit.ly/2iOgcXV
Data Zetu’s solution was simple: share the information from the Listening Campaigns with Ismail and the MYDIC, so that his organization is better equipped to align budget and programming according to community-identified needs.
MYDIC is better equipped to align budget and programming according to community-identified needs.
Through participation in the Listening Campaign and learning more about the pain points that most affect his community and the value of data as a tool to mitigate those pain points, Ismail has changed his programming to be data-driven. As a result, he is improving the relevance of his programming and having greater impact in the community.
In July and August, Data Zetu consortium partner Sahara Sparks led Listening Campaigns in four wards in Temeke District, including Makangarawe, Tandika, Mbagala and Mbagala Mkuu. Ismail Mnikite participated in these events, through a special forum dedicated to community and CSO leaders working in Makangarawe. This session included facilitated discussion on the issues raised by the community members in earlier Listening Campaign sessions, along with conversation around the perceived availability, value, and usage of data that might exist or would address those issues.
Consequently, Ismail Mnikite became very motivated. In his own words, “the session helped me to understand the importance of data and why it is necessary to incorporate data in everything that we do at our community library and youth center.”
“The session helped me to understand the importance of data and why it is necessary to incorporate data in everything that we do at our community library and youth center.”
Since the LC, Ismail Mnikite has begun to collect and consider data with his existing projects. For example, he is currently capturing the number of youth using his community library on a daily basis and he is using this data to see whether the traffic of youth is higher during weekdays or weekends. This data enables Ismail to ensure that his programming on legal issues and gender-based violence are held at the appropriate times to reach the greatest number of youth. Also, Ismail is currently looking for funds from different partners to scale his programs. He believes with proper statistical records he will be able to show to partners the impact that his community-based library and youth space is creating. For example, he is currently looking for more books for his library and he is planning to utilize the data he collected on library usage to help him build a stronger case in his proposals.
With proper statistical records he will be able to show to partners the impact that his community-based library and youth space is creating.
Additionally, Ismail is capturing data on the people who are looking for legal advice from his center and those who are reporting on GBV issues with the aim of having proper records and data to inform the approach and quantity of the services he provides.
Ismail Mnikiti, leading discussion at the Makangarawe listening campaign.
Outcomes and Impact
As indicated above, Ismail shared that his participation in the LC “helped me to understand the importance of data and why it is necessary to incorporate data in everything that we do at our community library and youths center.” In terms of expected impact, Data Zetu will track whether Ismail is successful in accessing additional funding or book donations for his library as a result of his data-driven proposals. We will also track how his perception of the value of the LC experience, and of data broadly evolves over the course of the Data Zetu implementation period.
Makangarawe Youth Information and Development Centre is a community resource that provide information, training and resource to young adult (youth) and the community so they are empowered to lead self – directed lives.
Sahara Sparks is a for-impact management consulting firm and implementing partner of Data Zetu. Sahara Sparks organized and managed the Listening Campaign activities, which collected community-identified challenges from wards across Data Zetu’s priority DREAMS districts.
Data Zetu aims to empower communities to make better, more evidence-based decisions to improve their lives. Through partnerships and collaborations with local communities, Data Zetu works with stakeholders to build skills and develop digital and offline tools that make information accessible to everyone.