Data is a Team Sport: Advocacy Organisations

July 12, 2017 in Data Blog, Event report, Research

Data is a Team Sport is our open-research project exploring the data literacy eco-system and how it is evolving in the wake of post-fact, fake news and data-driven confusion.  We are producing a series of videos, blog posts and podcasts based on a series of online conversations we are having with data literacy practitioners.

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In this episode we discussed data driven advocacy organisations with:

  • Milena Marin is Senior Innovation Campaigner at Amnesty International. She is currently leads Amnesty Decoders – an innovative project aiming to engage digital volunteers in documenting human right violations using new technologies. Previously she worked as programme manager of School of Data. She also worked for over 4 years with Transparency International where she supported TI’s global network to use technology in the fight against corruption.
  • Sam Leon, is Data Lead at Global Witness, focusing on the use of data to fight corruption and how to turn this information into change making stories. He is currently working with a coalition of data scientists, academics and investigative journalists to build analytical models and tools that enable anti-corruption campaigners to understand and identify corporate networks used for nefarious and corrupt practices.

Notes from the Conversation

In order to get their organisations to see the value and benefit of using data, they both have had to demonstrate results and have looked for opportunities where they could show effective impact. What data does for advocacy is to show the extent of the problem and it provides depths to qualitative and individual stories.  Milena credits the work of School of Data for the fact that journalists now expect their to be data accessible from Amnesty to back up their data.

  • They see gaps in the way that advocates can see data and new technologies as easy answers to their challenges, and the realities of implementing complex projects that utilise them.
  • In today’s post-fact world, they find that the term used as a tactic to  more quickly discredit their work and as a result they need to work harder at presenting verifiable data.
  • Amnesty’s decoder project has involved 45,000 volunteers and along with being able to review a huge amount of video, has had the side benefit of providing those volunteers with a deeper understanding of what Amnesty does.
  • Global Witness has had a limited amount of data-sets they have released to the public. But there needs to be a lot more learning about the implications of releasing open data-sets before that can be a default.
  • Intermediaries and externals are the only way for Advocacy organisations  to cover the gaps in their own expertise around data.

More about their work

Milena

Sam

Resources and Readings

From FabRiders

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