Why we need relevant data
First published July 12, 2016
Data can be simply numbers for some while for others it can mean either having livelihood projects or none at all. Asserting one's right does not come from thin air. It starts with knowing what is due to you. This may sound simple if not trivial to the privileged but not for the marginalized. Transparency changes.
Today, we are soft launching Bantay Kita's data portal called DATA Portal which stands for Demanding Action, Transparency, and Accountability alongside an open data workshop for CSOs and extractives affected community members. The idea of a data portal started in Jakarta, Indonesia last November 2015. I thought: when we talk about mining affected communities, do we really know who the communities are? This sparked the idea of having a portal solely for communities and by communities.
What does a portal for communities mean? It means that the target users are ultimately the communities and infomediaries that engage with them. Infomediaries may include grassroots NGOs, local academic institutions, and other advocacy organizations. There is a conscious effort to centralize extractives data and information that are specific to certain affected communities hence the extractives project-level, provincial, and regional data.
What about a data portal by communities? The DATA Portal is intended to make sure that extractives data disclosed and made available in the portal is not only specific to certain communities but also relevant. There are data that speaks to communities but if you ask them if these data are relevant them, they would probably say no to some. This is where our data user template comes in. We ask our workshop participants five simple yet important information:
2. Target Audience or Decision-maker
3. Information that decision maker needs to know
4. Intended outcome from decision-maker
5. Data needed
These inputs will then create our inventory of extractives data needs for specific communities. Data made available to the public can be overwhelming but given the right targeting and presentation, data can be meaningful as well. They only need to be relevant (and less intimidating!).
We have a very long way to go to reach our objective of having a data portal for and by communities given the enormous challenges. But I'm sure we will get there. Today marks my DATA Portal Journey. I'm so excited.