DevInfo is a royalty-free tool endorsed by the United Nations Development Group that allows you to access data on human development in just a few clicks. In addition to accessing the information, DevInfo enables the creation of customizable tables, graphs, and maps.
DevInfo helped Kimberly Connolly, MPH, RN present reliable national statistics to students in an innovative format when she started giving lectures at the Center for Global and Public Healthat Villanova University. “I’d typically select an indicator, and then select several countries – one of which would be the United States, for comparison purposes – and then generate charts from the data to highlight differences and disparities around the world,” says Connolly. “I would take a screen grab of the chart and then drop it into my lecture PPT.”
On the other side of the world, Eric Ofori, the head of the IT department at the National Development Planning Commission(NDPC) in Ghana has been teaching graduate students at the University of Ghana, Legonabout DevInfo for their research projects. Mr. Ofori, who played an instrumental role in the creation and implementation of the national socio-economic database GhanaInfo (read more about it here), is passionate about helping future development actors recognize the importance of data and teaching them how it should be formatted.
“For any problem to solve, you can find an indicator in the GhanaInfo database to support your work,” he says. “Let’s say you are working on child education in Ghana: select your district, your time period, and then import the graphs/maps from the database into your project."
When asked why he thinks that DevInfo is an important tool to use in the classroom, Mr. Ofori emphasizes the important of reliable statistics and facts in policy-making – something that he knows from his daily work at the NDPC.
“Since we implemented GhanaInfo, data collection, analysis, reporting, and managing have become easier. The NDPC receives raw data from the different districts and monitors twenty or so indicators that are incorporated into the database regularly,” he says.
Ms. Connolly also sees enormous value in getting the students to interact with data visualization in the classroom.
“I would assign research papers to my students, in which they had to pick a health problem and explore the issue within the context of various countries. I would point out to the students that they could use some of the data available under the DevInfo website – like MDGInfoor SOWCInfo– to get data on different health indicators for different countries, for comparison purposes.”
With the myriad information available online, DevInfo databases are reliable and engaging, which makes it easier for students to use it in the field. “One of the great advantages of DevInfo is to get students interested in a smart way,” says Mr. Ofori.
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact the DevInfo Support Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.